Environmental Health Inspection Checklist Sample Assignment

Use of this checklist is optional; however, inspectors may find it useful when determining responses to the Environmental Health Evaluation.  Facility managers may use the checklist and corresponding explanations of key CalCode requirements as a self-audit.






Foodborne Illness – Critical Risk Factors

1. Knowledge in Food Safety

113947-113947.6(HSC) Minimum standards of knowledge in food safety

2. Cooling, Holding and Preparing Food Ahead of Service

113996,113998, 114050, 114159(HSC) Holding potentially hazardous foods; temperatures for holding, keeping or displaying; thermometers

114002, 114002.1(HSC) Cooling of potentially hazardous foods

 114018, 114020, 114020.1(HSC) Storage of frozen food; refreezing thawed food; thawing potentially hazardous food

3. Personal Hygiene/Food Handling

113952-113953.5(HSC) Requirements for food handlers/hand washing

113952 (HSC) Water supply; minimum temperature for hot water

114250, 114276(HSC) Toilet facilities

113953.3(HSC) Hand washing facilities

114256-114256.1,113953.4  (HSC) Food service clothing/apron storage

4. Cooking Temperatures

114004-114016(HSC) Cooking temperatures (Lauren Beth Rudolph Safety Act of 1997)

114016(HSC) Reheating of foods

5. Cross Contamination/Inspection

114021-114031(HSC) Protection from contamination/approved sources

114035(HSC) Inspections upon receipt

113980, 114025, 114027(HSC) Food must be protected

114257-114257.1, 114175 (HSC) Facilities and equipment are to be clean and in good repair

114161, 114179(HSC) Storage of food and non-food items

Safety, Housekeeping, Maintenance and Equipment

6. Cleaning and Sanitizing

114099.6, 114107 (HSC) Requirements for manual sanitation and cleaning, and sanitizing of utensils and equipment

 Chapter 5 (HSC) Cleanliness of utensils and equipment; three-compartment metal sink required; methods of cleaning utensils

7. Pesticide and Cleaning Supply Storage

113978,113953.5 (HSC) Posting of signs

114254-114254.3 (HSC) Storage and use of poisonous or injurious substances

8. Vermin Exclusion

114259, 114259.3(HSC) Prevention of the entrance and harborage of insects and/or rodents

9. Solid Waste

114244-114245.8(HSC) Storage and disposal of waste material

10. Other Requirements

114259-114259.1 (HSC) Cleanliness of premises

113903, 114259.4,- 114259 HSC) Prohibition against live animals; Exceptions; Liability for damages

114419-114423(HSC) Requirements for HACCP Plans & HACCP Plans Requiring Approval. The food facility may operate pursuant to a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Plan (HACCP).  Applicability is determined by food management techniques.

114057, 114057.1(HSC) Date marking on containers

114130-114141, 114163 (HSC) New or replacement equipment

114190, 114193-114193.1, 114197,114199. 114269(HSC) Installation and maintenance of plumbing; disposal of liquid waste; drains

114149-114149.3(HSC) Ventilation; mechanical exhaust for cooking equipment

114268-114269 (HSC) Floor surface materials and floor drains

114271 (HSC) Wall and ceiling surfaces

114185-114185.5 (HSC) Storage for clean linens; containers for soiled linens

114279-114282(HSC) Storage area for cleaning equipment and supplies; disposal of mop bucket waste and other liquid wastes

114286(HSC) Lighting requirements

114286(HSC) Living and sleeping quarters shall be separated from food preparation areas


The following explanation was developed by California environmental health inspectors as a reference for detention facility health inspectors and facility managers.  It is not intended as a replacement to California Retail Food  Code (CalCode).  Explanations reference the numbers on the CalCode attachment to the Corrections Standards Authority inspection checklist.


1. Knowledge in Food Safety

  • Health and Safety Code 113947-113947.6, 113794, 113794.1
  • Food Safety Manager

Knowledgeable managers and employees, who understand the importance of food safety are vital to the operation of a food facility in preventing foodborne illness.  Each food facility must have at least one employee who has successfully passed an approved and accredited food safety certification examination.  The certification is good for three years from the date of issuance and is to be kept on file in each food facility. 

2. Cooling, Holding & Preparing Food Ahead of Service

  • Health and Safety Code 113996-114157, 114159
  • Hot and Cold Holding Temperatures

Maintaining proper holding temperatures is one of the most important factors in preventing foodborne illness.  Since disease-causing bacteria are able to multiply rapidly at temperatures between 41 degrees Fahrenheit and 135 degrees Fahrenheit, and this is known as the temperature danger zone.  You can prevent bacterial growth in food by keeping hot foods hot, and cold foods cold.  The proper holding temperatures for potentially hazardous foods are:

  • Hot foods shall be kept at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
  • Cold foods shall be refrigerated at 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below. 
  • Frozen food shall be kept at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

Ways in which hot foods can be held safely:

  • Transfer hot foods directly to an oven, steam table, or other holding unit.  Do not heat foods in a steam table or by using hot holding equipment.
  • Reheat leftover foods to 165 degrees Fahrenheit prior to placing in holding unit.
  • If possible, avoid cooking foods more than one day ahead of time.
  • Stir foods at frequent intervals to evenly distribute heat.
  • Keep a cover on foods to help maintain temperatures.

Ways in which cold foods can he held safely:

  • Keep foods in cold-holding tables, commercial refrigerated display cases, and refrigerators.
  • For salad bars and display units place the food containers in ice up to the product depth.
  • Keep a cover on foods held in cold holding units to help maintain temperatures.
  • Check the temperature of the foods on a frequent and regular basis. Use a calibrated, clean and sanitized thermometer.  Thermostat gauges of holding equipment may not accurately indicate the internal temperature of the food and should not solely be relied on during food preparation.


Frozen food must be thawed under refrigeration, or under cold (70 degrees Fahrenheit) running water, as part of the cooking process or in a microwave oven as part of a continuous cooking process.

  • Health and Safety Code 114002, 114002.1
  • Cooling of Potentially Hazardous Food
  • Potentially hazardous food prepared or cooked, which will be served at a later time and which is not held at 135 degrees Fahrenheit must be rapidly cooled to prevent the growth of microorganisms that cause foodborne illness.
  • After heating or hot holding, potentially hazardous food must be cooled from 135 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (or below) within two hours and from 70 degrees Fahrenheit (or below) to 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below within four hours.
  • Food prepared at room temperature must be cooled to 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below within four hours.

Methods of Rapid Cooling:

  • Using shallow pans.
  • Separating food into smaller portions.
  • Using rapid cooling equipment.
  • Adding ice.
  • Placing food in an ice bath and stirring.
  • Other means as approved by local Environmental Health Agency. 

3. Personal Hygiene/Food Handling

  • Health and Safety Code 113967, 113952-113961, 113973, 113977
  • Food Handlers

Employees (including inmate workers) must conduct themselves in such a manner that they do not contribute to the contamination of either food or utensils.  This includes the need for wearing clean outer garments and hairnets, caps, etc., to confine hair.  Hands must be washed for at least 20 seconds before and after any activity that may result in contamination.  This includes:

  • Immediately before engaging in food preparation or handling.
  • When switching from handling raw food products to ready-to-eat food.
  • After handling soiled equipment or utensils.
  • After using the toilet facilities.
  • After coughing, sneezing, eating or drinking.
  • After any other activity that may contaminate the hands.

Disposable gloves are to be worn by employees (including inmate workers in detention facilities), when contacting food or food surfaces if the individual has any cuts, sores, rashes, artificial nails, etc.  An adequate supply of dispensed soap and paper towels are to be maintained at all sinks used for hand washing.

4. Cooking Temperatures

  • Health and Safety Code 114004,114008, 114093 Cooking Temperatures

Proper cooking of potentially hazardous foods at correct temperatures is essential to kill bacteria, viruses, and parasites and deactivate some bacterial toxins.  The following are the minimum internal cooking temperatures:

  • Poultry, stuffed meats, pasta stuffed with meat, leftovers: 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Ground meats, including ground beef (non-poultry): 155 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.
  • Eggs, pork and most other potentially hazardous foods: 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Foods cooked in a microwave oven must be stirred or rotated often during cooking, and need to be covered and heated throughout to a minimum temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  Never cook or reheat food using hot holding equipment, and never add raw food to food that has already been cooked.  The final cooking temperatures should be checked with a sanitized, calibrated thermometer.

5. Cross Contamination/Inspection

  • Health and Safety Code 114035-114039.4, 114041
  • Inspecting Food upon Receipt

Food delivered to a food facility must be inspected upon receipt.  A receipt or invoice is to be provided upon delivery in order to verify this food is from an approved source.

Purchasing and Receiving of Food:

  • Only clean and unbroken shell eggs shall be received.
  • Carefully inspect deliveries for proper labeling, temperature and appearance.
  • Check shipments for intact packaging, e.g., broken boxes, leaky packages or dented cans are signs of mishandling.
  • Check packages for signs of refreezing and/or pest infestation.
  • Inspect deliveries immediately and put items away as quickly as possible.
  • Frozen foods are accepted only if there is no sign of thawing or re-freezing.
  • Health and Safety Code 113980, 114047-114055, 114060, 114061, 114063, 114065
  • Food Storage

All food must be stored in a manner that prevents contamination.  Food must be stored at least six inches above the floor and away from sources of contamination, e.g., like overhead pipes and trash storage areas.  Ready-to-eat food must be stored away from, or above raw food, such as uncooked meat, poultry or pork.  Bulk container of flour, sugar etc. must be labeled and kept covered.  Unpackaged food, which has been previously served, shall not be served to another person.

Safety, Housekeeping, Maintenance and Equipment

6. Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • Health and Safety Code 114099.6, 114107
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing Utensils and Equipment

After utensils, cutting boards, prep tables, and other food contact surfaces have been soiled from food storage, preparation, cooking and/or service, they must be washed, rinsed and sanitized before re-use.  Failure to do so properly could contaminate food and lead to foodborne illness.  Cleaning and Sanitizing must occur separately to be effective.


  • “Cleaning” is the physical removal of soil and food matter from a surface.
  • “Sanitizing” is the reduction of the number of bacteria and viruses on a surface to safe levels.

Dishwashing Machines

Dishwashing machines, when properly operated and maintained, can be very effective in removing soil and destroying microorganisms.  Dishwashing machines must be certified or classified for sanitation by an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited certification program or otherwise approved by the local environmental health jurisdiction.  Generally, there are two types of dishwashing machines, and they differ in their method of sanitizing:

  • High Temperature Machines sanitize dishes by rinsing dishes and utensils in water that has been heated to a temperature between 180 degrees Fahrenheit to 195 degrees Fahrenheit.  The temperature at the dish surface must be at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Chemical-Sanitizing Machines dispense a chemical sanitizer into the final rinse water [concentration must be at least 100 parts per million (ppm) chlorine] for at least 30 seconds.

The sanitizing temperature or chemical concentration must be checked often to ensure proper levels are maintained.

Manual Dishwashing

Washing, rinsing, and sanitizing equipment, utensils, and other food-contact surfaces can also be done manually in a three-compartment sink.  In a three-compartment sink, the first compartment is used for washing, the second is used for rinsing and the third is used for sanitizing.  The three-compartment sink shall be equipped with dual integral drain boards.  There are five steps to the manual dishwashing method:

  1. Pre-Rinse:  scrape and pre-rinse dishes thoroughly. If necessary for effective cleaning, utensils and equipment shall be pre-flushed, presoaked, or scrubbed with abrasives.
  2. Wash with hot water and dishwashing detergent
    • Wash water shall be maintained at not less than 100 F or the temperature specified by the manufacturer on the cleaning agent manufacturer's label instructions or as provided in writing by the manufacturer.
    • Change the water often to keep it hot and free of food particles.
  3. Rinse: Rinse in clean hot water to remove detergent.
    • Hot water means the water should be as hot as can be tolerated by hand.
    • Change the water often to keep it hot.
  4. Sanitize: Immerse dishes into the warm (75 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit) sanitizer solution for the required amount of time listed below.  Change the water solution often. The choices of sanitizer and the time required are:
    • 100 ppm chlorine for 30 seconds, or
    • 200 ppm quaternary ammonium for one minute, or
    • 25 ppm iodine for one minute, or
    • Hot water, at least 171 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 seconds.
  5. Air Dry: Allow dishes to air dry or store in a draining position.

Frequency of Washing and Sanitizing

Food contact surfaces, such as prep tables, cutting boards, and utensils, (including knives and serving spoons) must be cleaned and sanitized throughout the day if in continuous use or after each use as indicated:

  • Whenever there is a change between animal products.
  • Each time there is a change from working with raw meats, or other potentially hazardous foods, to ready-to-eat foods.
  • If the utensil or equipment is in continuous use throughout the day, it must be washed and sanitized at least every four hours.
  • At any time during food preparation when contamination of the equipment or utensil may have occurred.

Wiping Cloths

Wiping cloths used on service counters, scales, and other surfaces that may directly or indirectly contact food, shall be used only once until laundered, or held in a sanitizing solution as indicated in #4 above, “Sanitize.”  The water solution must be changed often to keep it clean and to maintain the proper strength of sanitizer.  Wiping cloths and solution used in the dining area must not be used on kitchen equipment and other food contact surfaces.

Sanitizer Test Kits

Sanitizer testing kits are necessary to ensure proper concentrations are being prepared and maintained.  Check with your cleaning chemical or restaurant supplier to obtain the specific type of kit for the sanitizing chemical used in your facility.

7. Pesticide and Cleaning Supply Storage

  • Health and Safety Code 114254-114254.3
  • Use and Storage of Pesticides and Cleaning Supplies

All pesticides and cleaning supplies must be stored in an area where they will not contaminate food or food contact surfaces, utensils or packaging materials.  It is recommended that only a licensed pest control operator apply pesticides.  Pesticides are not to be stored with cleaning supplies.

8. Vermin Exclusion

  • Health and Safety Code 114259, 114259.3
  • Exclusions of Vermin

To exclude flies, physical barriers such as the installation of window and door screening, high velocity air curtain fans above exterior doors, and installation of self-closing devices on exterior doors are recommended.  Openings under exterior doors and around pipes and wires that enter buildings through exterior walls, greater than one-quarter inch, are to be sealed to exclude rodents.

9. Solid Waste Management

  • Health and Safety Code 114244-114245.8
  • Solid Waste Management and Garbage Disposal

Pests attracted by garbage can contaminate food items, equipment and utensils.  The solid waste management (garbage) program shall include:

  • Removal of trash and garbage away from food preparation areas as soon as possible, and from the facility at least once each week, or more often if necessary to prevent a nuisance.
  • Use of leak proof garbage containers with tight fitting lids.
  • Frequent cleaning of garbage containers in a location away from food preparation and food storage areas.

10. Other Requirements

  • Health and Safety Codes 113947-114286 (from attachment to inspection checklist)

Please reference the California Retail Food Code if further explanation is required.