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Food Safety Program

The Food Safety Program is primarily responsible to protect the community against foodborne illnesses resulting from health code violations and improper handling of food.  It is responsible for inspections of food service operations, food vending machines, mobile food operations, and food establishments. Schools, daycare centers, restaurants, and hospitals are just a few of the areas inspected on a regular basis by this section.  Thanks to the ongoing, highly professional service provided by registered sanitarians, the incidence of foodborne illnesses is minimal in the Franklin County community.

Things we do:

  • License all food service operations and food establishments
  • Inspect food establishments and food services operations
  • Approve plans for all new and renovated food-related facilities
  • Investigate foodborne illnesses and reports of contaminated food
  • Investigate customer complaints
  • Procure and analyzes water samples from food establishments/food service operations with privately owned wells
  • Make in-service presentations
  • Investigate reports of food related violations
  • Inspect vending machines that dispense food products
  • Inspect Micro-Markets

We inspect all food facilities within Franklin County and the City of Pickerington with the exception of the cities of Columbus and Worthington. Any restaurants within the city limits of Columbus or Worthington are licensed and inspected by Columbus Public Health.

If you need information about a change of ownership inspection, please contact the designated inspector.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the designated inspector, or email the Food Safety Section.

2017-2018 ServSafe Registration

The Food Safety Program is pleased to announce that we’ll be offering ServSafe Managers Course/Level 2 Certification. The course will be offered over two days and will fulfill requirements for Ohio’s Level 2 Certification rule that will be in effect on March 1, 2017. Registration is due one week prior to the first day of each session. If you have any questions, please contact the Food Safety Program by calling 614-525-4537, or by emailing

2017-2018 ServSafe Registration Form

2017-2018 ServSafe Retest Registration Form

Inspection Reports

Learn more about our online Food Inspection Reports.

Inspectors and Areas Served

View the list of Inspectors and the areas they serve.


The goal of the Food Safety Program’s enforcement guide is to have and maintain a progressive enforcement approach that includes outreach and education which ultimately ensures each facility is in compliance with the Ohio Uniform Food Code.

A facility may be placed into the enforcement program when there are critical or repeat violations that go uncorrected. If at any given inspection, uncorrected critical violations exist, a follow-up inspection may be performed. If at the time of the follow-up inspection, those violations or additional violations are present, the facility may be placed into the enforcement program. This may include increased inspections, an administrative hearing, or referral to the Board of Health for additional enforcement actions which may include suspension, revocation or placing restrictions on the food license.

Please contact the food safety program or designated inspector for specific questions regarding our enforcement procedures.

Licenses Types

A Food Service License is issued to a location or area where food is prepared and served in individual portions. Examples include restaurants, cafeterias, and schools.

A Retail Food Establishment License is issued to a facility that sells prepackaged food items, or sells multiple servings of food products. Examples include grocery stores, gas stations, and most pizza shops.

Get more detailed info on Food Service and Retail Licenses.

Temporary Food License: Issued to a facility that is operated at an event for no more than five consecutive days. Get more info.

Mobile Food License: Issued to a moveable structure which must change locations at least once every 40 (forty) days. Get more info.

Vending Machine License: Required if you sell food that requires temperature control (frozen, refrigerated, or hot food). A license is also required if the food is dispensed in an open container or cup, such as coffee, soda, soup, or hot chocolate. Get more info.

Micro Market License: Issued to an unmanned store generally located within an office building. This facility offers TCS and non-TCS food items for purchase via self-checkout kiosk. In addition, specific equipment is required. Coolers and freezers must have health switches that will automatically be activated in the event of a temperature control issue or power failure. Get more info.

General Information / FAQs


Definitions Cottage Food Production Operation This is defined in Chapter 3715 of the Ohio Revised Code to mean a person who, in the person’s home, produces food items that are not potentially hazardous foods, including bakery products, jams, jellies, candy, fruit butter, and similar products specified in the rule. These foods must be labeled properly or they will be considered misbranded or adulterated. Home This means the primary residence occupied by the residence's owner, on the condition that the residence contains only one stove or oven used for cooking, which may be a double oven, designed for common residence usage and not for commercial usage, and that the stove or oven be operated in an ordinary kitchen within the residence.

FAQ: What are cottage foods?


  • Bakery products (such as cookies, breads, brownies, cakes, pies, etc.);
  • Candy (including no-bake cookies, chocolate covered pretzels or similar chocolate covered non-perishable items);
  • Jams;
  • Jellies and fruit butter, granola, granola bars, granola bars dipped in candy;
  • Popcorn, flavored popcorn, kettle corn, popcorn balls, caramel corn;
  • Unfilled baked donuts;
  • Waffle cones;
  • Pizzelles;
  • Dry cereal and nut snack mixes with seasonings;
  • Roasted coffee, whole beans or ground;
  • Dry baking mixes in a jar, including cookie mix in a jar;
  • Dry herbs and herb blends;
  • Dry seasoning blends; and
  • Dry tea blends.

View the FAQs-Farmer's Markets and Cottage Food Items

What are the Requirements for the Labeling of Cottage Food Products?

A “Cottage Food Production Operation” is required to label all of their food products and include the following information on the label of each unit of food product offered or distributed for sale:

  1. The name and address of the business of the “Cottage Food Production Operation”;
  2. The name of the food product;
  3. The ingredients of the food product, in descending order of predominance by weight;
  4. The net weight or net volume of the food product;
  5. The following statement in ten-point type: “This Product is Home Produced.”

arrow Example of Label

Where may Cottage Food Production Operations Sell Their Food Products?

Cottage Food Products may only be sold in Ohio. Cottage Food Products that are properly identified and labeled may be sold directly to the consumer from the site where the products are produced; sold through grocery stores, farm markets, farmers markets; and sold and/or used in preparing food in a restaurant.

Exemptions: Exemption List Document

How often are restaurant inspected?

View the Risk Class Sheet for more information.

What is the difference between a Farm Market, and a Farmer’s Market?

Farm Market - is a producer operated facility where fresh fruits and vegetables and other food items are offered for sale.

Farmer’s Market - a location where producers congregate to offer food items for sale.

Forms, Other Materials & Additional Links

Complete List of Forms

License Application
Temporary Packet
Temporary License Application
Temporary License Requirements
Employee Health Policy Agreement
Acuerdo de obligación de informar de empleados condicionales o empleados que manipulan alimentos
Vending Machine Application
Plan Review Requirements
Plan Review Submittal Form and Fees
Mobile Requirements
Commissary/Pushcart Agreement Form
Vomiting and Diarrheal Incident
Cómo responder a un incidente de vómito o diarrea

Other Materials

Review of Food Safety Rules
Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3701-21 Food Service Operations
Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3717-1 Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code
Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 901:3-4, Retail Food Establishments
Risk Class Sheet
Exemption List

Food Safety at Home

Kitchen Companion: Your Safe Food Handbook

Additional Links/Resources
Ohio Department of Agriculture: Food Safety
Ohio Department of Health: Food Safety Program