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Owner’s and Manager’s FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about Restaurant Inspections

OBTAINING A FOOD ESTABLISHMENT LICENSE

1.  Do I need a food establishment license?

A food establishment license is required for any operation that stores, prepares, packages, serves, or sells food directly to the consumer, or provides food for human consumption. This includes, but is not limited to restaurants, grocery stores, school cafeterias, long-term care facilities, day care centers, and mobile food units.

Licenses are required for new food establishments. Licenses are also required whenever there is a change of ownership. Licenses must be renewed each year. Please include an application processing fee based on your category/type and size (fee schedule range of $250 to $750; late fees are $50.00 for licenses $200 or less or $100.00 for licenses over $250), made payable to Englewood Health Department, with the license application. Mail or deliver completed applications to the Englewood Health Department at 73 South Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey 07631.

Applications are available from the Englewood Health Department, or you may download the application here:

2.  Do I need a license to sell food at an event?

Yes, you need to obtain a temporary food license for special events such as fairs and festivals. Each food vendor must submit an application and a  application processing fee at least 10 days before the date of the event based on an inspection fee and set-up fee schedule (application fee for up to 3 consecutive days is $75.00 (incl 1 inspect; application fee for up to 10 consecutive  days is $125.00 (incl 1 inspect; application fee for Farmers Market is $50.00 per season; application fee for Portable toilet is $15.00 for first toilet; application additional portable toilet at same location is $5.00 each; Set-up Deposit fee is $60.00 and refundable upon timely set-up for actual inspection (for all licenses); and Inspection Fee for 501c3 agencies is $30.00 (with 501c3 certificates)). Applications are available from the Englewood Health Department, or you may download the application in English (and Guidelines) or Spanish (and Guidelines).

INSPECTIONS

3.  What types of inspections does the Englewood Health Department conduct?

There are six types of inspections: 1) routine, 2) follow-up, 3) complaint investigation, 4) risk factor assessment, 5) pre-opening, or 6) training.

Routine: unannounced, comprehensive inspection of the entire physical establishment and all aspects of safe food handling practices.

Follow-up: unannounced inspection conducted for the purpose of re-inspecting items that were not in compliance at the time of a routine, critical procedures or complaint inspection.

Complaint investigation: unannounced inspection performed in response to a complaint received by the health department.

Risk factor assessment: unannounced inspection to evaluate foodborne illness risk factors and to determine compliance with priority items of the regulations.

Pre-opening: scheduled inspection to approve a newly constructed or remodeled establishment (or installation of new equipment) prior to a permit being issued and an establishment beginning operation.

Training: scheduled inspection during which formal food safety training is provided to employees of a food establishment. This can also be a mock inspection.

4.  Who conducts the inspections?

Public Health inspectors, also known as Registered Environmental Health Specialists (REHS), conduct inspections in Englewood. Public Health Inspectors are professionals who receive special training in food safety and sanitation. All Public Health Inspectors must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher with at least 30 hours of course work in the physical sciences. In addition, inspectors must pass the New Jersey REHS licensure examination and maintain continuing education credits annually.

5.  What are risk-based inspections?

Foodborne illness can occur in any food facility. However, it is more likely to occur at food establishments where many different kinds of perishable foods are handled and prepared. For this reason, Englewood uses a risk-based inspection program.  Risk category is determined by several factors including the kind of food served, complexity of preparation steps that food requires, population served, volume of food served and the establishment’s previous compliance history. A food hazard assessment or establishment profile is completed for each food establishment when opening or when there is a change of menu or type of operation.

    Risk type 1 food establishment means any retail food establishment that:

  1. Serves or sells only pre-packaged, non-potentially hazardous foods;
  2. Prepares only non-potentially hazardous foods; or
  3. Heats only commercially processed, potentially hazardous foods for hot holding and does not cool potentially hazardous foods. Such retail establishments may include, but are not limited to, convenience store operations, hot dog carts, and coffee shops.

    Risk type 2 food establishment means any retail food establishment that has a limited menu; and

  1. Prepares, cooks, and serves most products immediately;
  2. Exercises hot and cold holding of potentially hazardous foods after preparation or cooking; or
  3. Limits the complex preparation of potentially hazardous foods, including the cooking, cooling, and reheating for hot holding, to two or fewer items. Such retail establishments may include, but are not limited to, retail food store operations, schools that do not serve a highly susceptible population, and quick service operations, depending on the menu and preparation procedures.

    Risk type 3 food establishment means any retail food establishment that:

  1. Has an extensive menu which requires the handling of raw ingredients; and is involved in the complex preparation of menu items that includes the cooking, cooling, and reheating of at least three or more potentially hazardous foods; or
  2. Prepares and serves potentially hazardous foods including the extensive handling of raw ingredients; and whose primary service population is a highly susceptible population.  Such establishments may include, but are not limited to, full service restaurants, diners, commissaries, and catering operations; or hospitals, nursing homes, and preschools preparing and serving potentially hazardous foods.

    Risk type 4 food establishment means a retail food establishment that conducts specialized processes such as smoking, curing, canning, bottling, acidification designed to control pathogen proliferation, or any reduced oxygen packaging intended for extended shelf-life where such activities may require the assistance of a trained food technologist. Such establishments include those establishments conducting specialized processing at retail.

6.  How will I know when my restaurant will be inspected?

Only pre-opening and training inspections are scheduled. All other inspections are unannounced.

7.  What do Public Health Inspectors look for in a routine inspection?

Public Health Inspectors look for any conditions or practices that might result in a foodborne illness. This includes things such as food temperature control, worker hygiene, cross contamination concerns, food handling practices, food protection practices, and equipment maintenance. Public Health Inspectors use the New Jersey Sanitary Code (found at NJAC 8:24-1 and entitled “Chapter 24 Sanitation in Retail Food Establishments and Food and Beverage Vending Machines”) as guidance.

8. What happens when a violation is found?

This depends on the type of violation. The establishment is closed immediately if an “imminent health hazard” or a significant threat or danger to health is identified. For other violations, inspectors work with establishment and property owners to correct the violations. Some may be corrected immediately while others may require a timeline for corrections.

Englewood restaurants are rated by the Public Health Inspectors as follows:

Satisfactory - the establishment is operating in substantial compliance with Chapter 24. Food service personnel demonstrate that they are aware of and are practicing the required sanitation and food safety principles.

Conditionally Satisfactory - at time of inspection, the establishment was found not to be operating in substantial compliance with Chapter 24 and in violation of one or more required provisions. Due to the nature of these violations, an unannounced full re-inspection will be scheduled. Opportunity for re-inspection is offered within a reasonable time determined by the severity of the violation.

Unsatisfactory - whenever a retail food establishment is operating in violation of Chapter 24, with one or more violations constituting gross insanitary or unsafe conditions posing imminent health hazards, the Health Authority immediately requests the establishment's manager to voluntarily cease operation until re-inspection verifies that conditions warranting unsatisfactory evaluation no longer exist. Meanwhile, the health authority institutes necessary measures provided by law to assure that the establishment does not prepare or serve food until re-inspection validates that conditions now meet health standards.

9. Are food establishments fined for violations?

There are no fines for initial violations. However, there is an enforcement process for repeat violations which may include being given a written notice of violation, requiring an administrative conference, fines, and possible license revocation.

10. When does Public Health close an establishment?

An establishment is closed if there is a large threat or danger to health. This includes the loss of electrical power or water, sewage backup, fire, flood, onset of an apparent foodborne illness outbreak, misuse of poisonous or toxic materials, gross insanitary occurrences or conditions, or other circumstances that may endanger public health.

Operational Issues

11.  Do I need Health Department permission to add on to my facility?

If you plan to add on to your facility, you will need to submit new plans to the Englewood Health Department for review. Applications are available from the Health Department, or you may download the application here. The application fee is $75.00.

12.  Do I need Health Department permission to buy new equipment?

When purchasing new equipment, you should always purchase commercial equipment that is designed and constructed to be durable, smooth, and easy to clean. It should retain its characteristic qualities under normal use conditions. It is best to receive Englewood Health Department approval before purchasing.

13.  What should I do if I lose electrical power or water?

Consider the extent of the problem. If there is a long interruption of electrical power or water, you will need to consider temporarily closing the establishment.

NEW  JERSEY SANITARY CODE

14.  What is the New Jersey Sanitary Code?

The New Jersey Sanitary Code is known as NJAC 8:24-1 and entitled "Chapter 24 Sanitation in Retail Food Establishments and Food and Beverage Vending Machines". The New Jersey Sanitary Code serves as a guide for state, county, and local  agencies that regulate restaurants and retail food operations. This document represents the best known information about safe food storage, handling, and operations in the State of New Jersey. You can access the Sanitary Code here.

CERTIFIED FOOD MANAGER

15.  What is a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM)?

All food establishments in Englewood must have a CFPM on site during hours of operation. Individuals who wish to become a CFPM must pass a food safety certification exam that has been approved by the Conference for Food Protection (CFP) that addresses the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to operate a safe and sanitary food establishment. Exams are available in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, French, Italian and Arabic.

Currently, the three CFP approved food safety programs are as follows:

Upon passing the food safety certification exam, CFPMs are issued a certificate that must be displayed inside the restaurant or other pertinent retail food establishment where it is available and accessible to the consumers and Public Health Inspectors upon review/inspection. The Food Protection Manager Certificate must be must be maintained and renewed upon expiration every five years.

16.  Is a restaurant required to have a Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM)?

New Jersey restaurants classified as Risk Type III establishments are required to maintain a Certified Food Safety Professional (Certified Food Protection Manager), by January 2, 2010 (See N.J.A.C. 8:24 - 2.1b). This is a legal requirement in order to be in compliance with the New Jersey Sanitary Code.

In addition to maintaining at least one Certified Food Protection Manager per establishment, a restaurant must maintain, at all hours of operation, a designated Person-in-Charge. This Person-in-Charge must be knowledgeable of the New Jersey Food Code (Sanitary Code) requirements and familiar with all aspects of the restaurant’s operation.

CERTIFIED FOOD HANDLER

17.  What is a Certified Food Handler (CFH)?

Employees of a restaurant who cook, sell, and/or serve food are required to obtain a food handler certificate.  Individuals who wish to become a CFH must pass a food safety certification exam that has been approved by the Conference for Food Protection (CFP) that addresses the knowledge, skills, and abilities in basic food safety, personal hygiene, cross-contamination & allergens, time & temperature, and cleaning and sanitation to maintain a safe and sanitary food establishment. Exams are available in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, French, Italian and Arabic.

Currently, the three CFP approved food safety programs are as follows:

Upon passing the food safety certification exam, CFHs are issued a certificate that must be displayed inside the restaurant or other pertinent retail food establishment where it is available and accessible to the consumers and Public Health Inspectors upon review/inspection. The Food Handler Certificate must be must be maintained and renewed upon expiration every three years.

18. Is a restaurant required to have a Certified Food Hander (CFH)?

New Jersey requires each worker in the food service industry to possess a food handler's license before handling and preparing food. A food handler's license demonstrates that the individual in question possesses proper knowledge of how to prevent food contamination and, accordingly, how to reduce food-borne illnesses.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please feel free to contact the Health Inspectors Priscilla Lewis at 201-871-6510 or Jennifer Galarza at 201-871-6514. In case neither Health Inspector is available, please contact Mr. James M. Fedorko, Health Officer, at 201-871-6501.