Division of Hotels and Restaurants
Food Service Inspection Walk-thru
The Bureau of Sanitation and Safety Inspections conducts regular inspections of public food service establishments to assure compliance with all state sanitation and safety laws. By law, such establishments must receive a minimum of two unannounced inspections per year. The division strives for at least three, more if necessary. Florida is the only southern state that licenses and inspects restaurants on a statewide, not county-by-county, basis.
Sanitation And Safety Specialists
The Bureau of Sanitation and Safety Inspections employs Sanitation and Safety Specialists ("inspectors") who must be trained by a food service evaluation officer certified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The inspector also must demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the Florida public food service laws and rules by passing administered practice tests and examinations, including the Certified Food Manager's exam -- the same exam taken by the restaurant managers. The inspector also must complete 20 hours of continuing education annually and must become certified as a special fire safety inspector by the State Fire Marshal.
Although all parts of the facility inspection are important, handwashing, food temperatures and food handling practices are of critical concern, and the inspector places major emphasis on these areas when conducting the inspection. Other areas covered during the inspection include: hot and cold food holding; food protection; food equipment and utensils; water and sewage; plumbing; toilet and wash facilities; garbage and refuse disposal; insect/rodent control; floors, walls and ceilings; lighting; ventilation; dressing rooms; and general safety.