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Food

How do I get a hold of Environmental Health staff in Valley, Elmore or Boise Counties?
Go to this link for contacts in your county.

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I think I might have gotten food poisoning at a local restaurant. How can I report that?
If you think you may have contracted a foodborne illness you have three options:

  1. You can report your suspected foodborne illness to the Environmental Health Department by calling 327-7499.
  2. Fill out an online form at www.reportfoodpoisoning.com
  3. Or you can contact a health inspector who inspects the food establishments in your area.

How do I find out if other people got sick from the food at a restaurant where I just dined?
Contact the Environmental Health department at 327-7499 or contact a health inspector.

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Where can I find the results of restaurant inspections?
Central District Health Department offers a searchable database with the results of all the inspections done on the food establishments in our district. Go to the inspections page to begin your search.

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I have been in several restaurants lately that have lots of flies. The staff seems oblivious to their presence. Does this violate health rules?
Yes, having lots of flies in a restaurant is indeed a violation of the Idaho Food Code, which is the set of rules health departments around the state enforce through routine inspections of all food establishments. The Idaho Food Code states:

6-501.111 Controlling Pests.*
The presence of insects, rodents, and other pests shall be controlled to minimize their presence on the PREMISES by:
(A) Routinely inspecting incoming shipments of FOOD and supplies;
(B) Routinely inspecting the PREMISES for evidence of pests;
(C) Using methods, if pests are found, such as trapping devices or other means of pest control as specified under §§ 7-202.12, 7-206.12, and 7-206.13; and
(D) Eliminating harborage conditions.

You can research questions about what the law says about restaurants by opening up the Idaho Food Code document (PDF file) on this page of our website. If you have other questions about restaurant operations please call the Environmental Health division of the health department office nearest you.

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Is the online Food Safety Exam the same for all counties in Idaho?
The exam questions may be different but the certification is the same statewide. The certificate is good for five years and is recognized by all seven health districts in the state. All of the answers on the Food Safety Exam can be found in the Idaho Food Safety and Sanitation Manual that is also online. Follow this link to take the online Food Safety Exam.

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Is there any way of getting an Idaho Food Code for all of the stores within my company in the state of Idaho?
Every new food establishment within the Central District Health Department is issued an Idaho Food Code document. Existing establishments were issued the Idaho Food Code 2005-2006. If you need a second copy, you can download the code from this page on our website.

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Does the health department offer food safety training classes?
Yes, Central District Health Department offers three levels of food safety training:

  1. The Basic Food Safety video is free and can be downloaded from this page on our website. This course does not offer certification, but does provide a good review of most food safety principles.
  2. The Idaho Food Safety & Sanitation Certification course is a four-hour classroom certification course. The certification is for the State of Idaho and is good for five years. The cost is $30. Call 327-7499 for more information and to register. You can also check the calendar for the next scheduled class.
  3. The ServSafeŽ Manager Certification course is an 8-hour classroom course sanctioned by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. It is designed primarily for food service managers. The certificate is good for five years and is recognized nationwide. Cost is $95, which includes lunch. Call 327-7499 for more information and to register. You can also check the calendar page for the next scheduled class.

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How do I start a food service business or open a restaurant?
Our staff of Public Health Specialists will gladly answer your questions about the requirements for opening a new food establishment. Go to our Food contact page for contact information on the Health Specialist in your area.

A Food Establishment License application must be made prior to serving or selling food to the general public. The application and other forms can be found here. The application must be submitted at least 30 days prior to opening.

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Where can I find the restaurant codes and rules?
The Idaho Food Code is the set of rules that are applied to food establishments throughout the state of Idaho. You can download the entire document from our website here, then look under the heading Food Safety Manuals.

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Can I run a food business out of my home?
A licensed food establishment must be separate from the home. A private home, a room used as a living or sleeping quarters, or an area directly opening into a room used as living or sleeping quarters, may not be used for conducting food establishment operations. A food establishment business must operate out of an approved and licensed kitchen.

You may have a separate building on your property that is not a living quarters constructed as a food establishment. A plan review with a health inspector is necessary before construction begins.

For more information contact one of the Public Health Specialists working in the food division at Central District Health.

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How do I a start a cookie or cake business?
You must complete a Food Establishment License application that can be downloaded from this page on our website . You will find it under the heading Long Term Food Establishments.

The product must be produced in an approved and licensed food establishment. If you are going to construct a new kitchen, a plan review must be completed with a health inspector before construction begins. A list of health inspectors can be found here.

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How can I get hand washing signs for employees?
Central District Health Department offers a variety of signs that help food workers reduce risk factors. You'll find the hand washing poster and others by going to this page of the website.

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How do I make or file a complaint about a restaurant?
Contact a Health Inspector or call the Environmental Health Department at 327-7499.

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Will the health department investigate a complaint about a food service employee who is using bare hands to handle food?
Yes, the health department will investigate a complaint of this type. Call 327-7499 to make a report or choose from the list of health inspectors in your area.

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Do I need a permit to serve food at a special event?
Yes, permits are required whenever food is served to the public. You will need to complete a Temporary Food Establishment application. You can find the application and other documents on our website.

You will need to download the application, the Vendors Packet, Food Safety Notice and the No Bare Hands poster. The application must be submitted at least two weeks prior to the event.

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What does a special event coordinator need to do for food vendors?
You will need to complete the Temporary Food Establishment License / Special Events Information form, which can be found on our website, under the heading Temporary Food Establishments.

The Special Event form must be submitted at least 30 days before the event. Include the names of the food vendors with the application. Each food vendor must submit a completed Temporary Food Establishment application, also available on the website, at least two weeks prior to the event.

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How can I sign up to receive the Food Review newsletter?
All licensed food establishments receive the Food Review newsletter automatically. If you do not own a licensed food establishment, you can download a newsletter by following this link. The Food Review newsletter is published quarterly.

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