Procedures For Operating A Food Service Establishment
A food service plan review is required for all restaurants and food stands involving new or remodeled construction. Plans are reviewed using the North Carolina Food Code and the Rules Governing the Food Protection and Sanitation of Food Establishments (NCAC 18A .2600). The rules can be accessed at www.ncpublichealth.com (Environmental Health Section). A completed application, $250.00 plan review fee, legible floor plan drawing to scale, complete menu, and manufacturer’s specification sheets on all equipment must be submitted to the Cherokee County Environmental Health Department before plans can be reviewed.
Plans are reviewed on a first come, first serve basis and the Department will contact you when the review is complete. Upon approval of your plans, you will be given a “Letter of Approval” by the Department. This “Letter of Approval” will need to be submitted to the Cherokee County Building Department in order to obtain your building permits to begin construction. Building permits cannot be obtained until plan review approval is granted by the Health Department.
If your food service establishment is not on municipal water and/or sewer, you will need to obtain a well permit and septic permit from the Environmental Health Department. Well and septic approval should be completed first before proceeding with any other plans for your food service establishment.
All food service equipment, except for microwaves, mixers, and toasters, used for restaurants, food stands, and mobile food units must be certified or classified for sanitation by an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited certification program. If the equipment is not certified or classified for sanitation the equipment shall meet Parts 4-1 and 4-2 of the Food Code. Examples of accredited education service programs are NSF, ETL (Intertek), CSA, and UL Sanitation. All utensils and equipment, including cooler and freezer shelving units, must be commercial, durable, and constructed of non-toxic and easily cleaned materials. All equipment must have identifiable labels designating the make and model number on the equipment and all equipment must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s intended use.
Refrigeration must be capable of holding at 45 degrees F or below and hot holding 135 degrees F or greater. However, as of 1/1/2019 cold holding minimum temperature requirements must be 41 F and below. Existing equipment not able to maintain 41 degrees or below by this date will either have to be upgraded or replaced to meet 41 degree or below for all cold holding of potentially hazardous foods.
The following will need to be included on your floor plan drawing. :
- All equipment including refrigerators, freezers, cooking equipment, hot/cold holding equipment, utensil washing sinks with air drying space, dish machines, food prep sinks, hand sinks, ice machines, areas for food prep, dry storage, chemical storage, employee personal storage, mop/broom storage, garbage can wash, hot water heater, restrooms, dining, self-service buffets, waitress/beverage stations (including self-service), restrooms, garbage dumpster, and door entrances/exits must all be designated on your plan. All equipment on your plan must be clearly labeled. .
The following will help you to decide what type of equipment you will need to have so you can begin your floor plan drawing:
- All food establishments must install a 3-compartment ware washing sink or request approval from the regulatory authority to use a 2-compartment sink under the provisions of 4-301.12(D) and (E).
- Establishments with automatic dish machines will be required to have a 3-compartment sink for manual ware washing.
- Although not required, the installation of food prep sinks is highly recommended to reduce the risks of cross-contamination if your establishment will be washing vegetables or thawing/washing meats in sinks.
- At least 1 hand washing sink must be provided to allow convenient use by employees in food prep, food dispensing, and ware washing areas.
- Indicate the distance between all types of sinks, dishwashers and prep areas on your plan. Equipment placed less than 18 inches apart may require installation of a splash-guard if cross contamination is an issue. A reasonable distance should be maintained between heavy equipment (ex. ovens/grills/fryers) for cleaning purposes unless the equipment is on castors. .
- The hot water heater will be sized in GPH or GPM Recovery Rate. Designate your water heater type (gas/electric/tankless) on your application. Those establishments using electric water heaters with storage capacity will need to provide the dimensions in cubic feet (LWH) of one compartment of your utility washing sink in order for the water heater size to be calculated.
- If you have public seating with your food establishment you will be required to provide public restrooms. Customers must not be allowed to pass through the kitchen or have contact with food storage areas when accessing the restrooms. Food stands will only need restrooms for employees. The number of lavatories, toilets and urinals required will be determined by the Cherokee County Building Department.
- Grease traps will be required for the generation of any grease from cooking processes.
- All North Carolina State Building Codes must be met.
A NOTE CONCERNING REFRIGERATORS: ALL EQUIPMENT MUST BE USED AS THE MANUFACTURER’S INTENDED PURPOSE. MOST GLASS DOOR COOLERS ARE FOR THE STORAGE OF PRE-PACKAGED AND/OR BOTTLED PRODUCTS ONLY AND NOT FOR STORING POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS FOODS EVEN THOUGH THE EQUIPMENT MAY BE ANSI APPROVED. Before you purchase any glass door coolers, be sure you know any limitations that exist with the equipment by the manufacturer.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Kim McClain or Sara Smith at 828-835-3853.