The Meigs County Health Department issued 90 food licenses last year. This year looks to be about the same. Food Licenses fall into one of two categories, RFE or FSO.
An FSO (Food Service Operation) is a business that sells individual portions of food to consumers. Examples of FSO’s include restaurants, schools, institutions such as jails or residential facilities and some food trucks. Typically foods from an FSO are already prepared and ready to eat.
An RFE (Retail Food Establishment) is a business that sells bulk foods, or foods that are meant to feed more than one person. Examples of RFE’s include grocery stores, gas stations, dollar stores, pizza places, and food trucks that are selling bulk items. Many times foods from RFE’s are not ready for consumption and require additional preparation. Think about buying groceries, these items usually require additional preparation. Pizza is an exception. Pizza shops sell prepared foods, however because a pizza is generally meant for more than one person, it is considered bulk and the shop must license as an RFE.
All RFE’s and FSO’s are required to be inspected by the local health department. The frequency of inspection depends of the level of risk established at the time of licensure. An RFE that packages and labels fresh meat is licensed at a higher risk level and requires more frequent inspections than an RFE that only sells prepackaged items. Likewise an FSO that doesn’t reheat products or serve a primarily high risk population is licensed at a lower risk level and doesn’t require as many inspections in the year as an FSO that does perform these activities.
The Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code sets the following frequency of inspections.
RFE or FSO Risk Level 1 2 3 4.
Required Standard Inspection(s) per year 1 1 2 2.
In addition to the Standard Inspections, Risk Level 4 businesses also require 2 Advanced Inspections every year.
These inspections are intended to ensure that food code standards are met. These standards cover every aspect of the business from purchasing and cleanliness, to preparation and labeling. The health department accomplishes this goal by conducting the required inspections, educating the owners and employees about the food code and being available to answer questions. We also maintain an enforcement program to deal with those who do not comply in a timely manner.
Last year there were 382 inspections performed by the environmental health food safety program. The latest standard inspection report, from every licensed RFE and FSO in Meigs County, can be viewed at Meigs-health.com.
Dawn Keller works for the Meigs County Health Department.