The Health District is enrolled in the FDA Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards. The Retail Program Standards are designed to help food regulatory programs enhance the services they provide to the public and to achieve national uniformity among regulatory programs. The FDA Standards specify that the Health District should be inspecting Risk Level III Food Establishments at least three times per year. In addition, the District Board of Health has set a strategic objective of a risk-based approach to food inspections. According to the Regulations of the Washoe County Health District Governing Food Establishments a Risk Level III Food Establishment “means a permitted food establishment that presents a significant relative risk of causing foodborne disease based on the large number of food handling operations typically implicated in foodborne disease outbreaks and/or the type of population served by the establishment.” Examples of Risk Level III food establishments include full service restaurants, continuous operation casino/resort kitchens, buffets, manufacturers of potentially hazardous food and caterers serving potentially hazardous food. Therefore, we have been positioning the Division to be able to inspect these facilities a second time in this calendar year. The Health District fees, adopted in 2015, were calculated to include only one food establishment inspection per year. The current fee for re-inspections ($180.00) will be assessed for all second routine inspections. This concept was presented to both industry as well at the Board of Health as an alternative to assessing another routine food inspection fee – all expressed support.
Per the Health District mission, this initiative will help protect residents and visitors from out-of-compliance risk factors that lead to foodborne disease and/or injury. It will also provide added assurance regarding food safety to the entire restaurant and casino industry of Washoe County. It is a firm step in the right direction to follow the FDA Food Program Standards in order to protect the health of our community.
Beginning this year, between July and the end of December, Risk Level III Food Establishments will receive a second routine inspection. After the completion of the inspection the establishment will be invoiced for the $180 inspection fee.