Douglas County has dining opportunities that range from award winning burger joints to fine dining. Several restaurants in the area have been featured on national television programs such as “Diners, Drive In’s and Dives”. There are a variety of enjoyable dining experiences that can be enjoyed by local residents and visitors.
The Environmental Health Unit of the Douglas County Department of Health and Human Services serves as an agent of the Wisconsin Department of Health and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to assure that these facilities provide safe and healthy dining experiences. We license nearly 300 food establishments (restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores), which receive at least one annual inspection to assure that they are meeting the requirements of the Wisconsin Food Code.
HOW WE CONDUCT AN INSPECTION
Inspectors for Douglas County conduct a risk based inspection to identify key issues that can lead to food contamination and food borne illness. The risk based inspection is conducted using the following processes:
If deficiencies are observed during these routine inspections, they are described in an inspection report with reference to a relevant section of the Wisconsin Food Code (WFC). Deficiencies that result in imminent health hazards to the general public shall be corrected immediately.
- Food process review – What is being done and how is it being done.
- Following the flow of food throughout the food facility.
- Observation and verification of proper food safety practices and procedures.
- Discussion and dialogue with the food service employees and management.
Visitors to this site are cautioned against interpreting the status of a particular facility based on only one report. While every effort is made to keep the information up-to-date and ensure that it is accurate, the Health Authority is not responsible for discrepancies between information posted here and the actual inspection reports provided to the food establishment, pool, or water system and maintained on file at the health office.
WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR DURING AN INSPECTION
The inspection is focused on identifying risk factors and good retail practices in addition to providing education and information on proper food safety practices.
Risk Factors are defined as the key practices or procedures and contributing factors which lead to foodborne illness or injury. These risk factors have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are being evaluated throughout the United States in a similar manner. Foodborne illness risk factors include:
Good Retail Practices are defined as the practices or procedures that focus on general sanitation in the food establishment.
- Poor personal hygiene;
- Food from unsafe source;
- Inadequate cooking;
- Improper holding temperatures; and
- Cross Contamination.
UNDERSTANDING THE INSPECTION REPORT
Below are some definitions and facts that may help you understand these inspection reports better:
Restaurants have four categories of licenses. Licenses are based upon the amount of food preparation activities at that facility. Here is a general description of the four complexity ratings.
- Pre-Packaged – These facilities serve only pre-packaged, hermetically sealed items. These items include frozen pizzas and packaged sandwiches.
- Low – These facilities cook foods on site with minimal food prep. These facilities cook meats with no preparation needed (hot dogs, frozen hamburger patties) and appetizers which are taken directly from the freezer into a deep fryer or greaseless fryer.
- Moderate – These facilities are preparing some foods from scratch, they have staff doing some food preparation, cooling, and hot holding.
- Complex – These facilities are preparing foods from scratch like the moderate facilities do but are also serving food for events that increase their volume of food preparation, like having self-service food lines, delivery, catering, and banquet facilities.
There are three types of violations that you will find in these reports – Priority, Priority Foundation, and Core. Below is an explanation of what these terms mean:
- Priority (red) – These violations indicate that there is an issue at the facility that could lead to the spread of food borne illness. These items have the potential to cause either the contamination of food or bacterial growth in food. Inspectors attempt to get all priority violations corrected on site during the inspection. If priority items are not corrected on site, enforcement actions (fees, fines, risk control plans, and legal action to revoke a license) may be implemented.
- Priority Foundation (Yellow) – These violations, if not corrected will lead to priority violations. An example of a priority violation would be having no soap at a hand wash sink – if not corrected staff will eventually not be able to wash their hands properly. Many of these violations are corrected on site.
- Core (Blue) – These violations do not lead to food borne illness, but are required by the food code as good retail practices. These are often structural issues with the building and equipment. If not corrected over several inspections, enforcement actions (fees, fines, risk control plans, and legal action to revoke a license) may be implemented.
Measurements taken during an inspection
Many items are measured during a food facility inspection. Below is an abbreviated list that may help you see if a reading is in or out of compliance. Generally, if an item is out of compliance, the inspector will try to document this on the temperature page (like with an “*”). The reading will also be mentioned as a violation on the violations page.
- Cold Holding – Foods that need refrigeration for safety must be held below 41 F.
- Cooling – Foods that need refrigeration must be cooled from 135 F to 41 F within 6 hours
- Hot Holding - Foods in hot holding must be above 135 F
- Cooking - There are many factors that determine a proper cook temperature – in general
Sanitizer – several sanitizers can be used, and must be used according to label. Typically, they must be in the following ranges
- Whole meat products – 145 F
- Ground or Marinated meats – 155 F
- Poultry and Wild Game – 165 F
- Iodine – 25 ppm
- Chlorine – 100 ppm
- Quaternary Ammonia -200 ppm
- High Temperature – 180 F at line, Dish must be 160 F.