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Suffolk County Department of Health

Suffolk County Board of Health Inspections

The Food Control Unit is responsible for enforcing Article 13 of the Suffolk County Sanitary Code. The purpose of Article 13 is to protect public health by establishing safeguards for the control of food and preventing consumption of unwholesome, adulterated or otherwise unfit food. Each year the Food Control Unit issues nearly 6,000 food service establishment permits, conducts more than 11,000 inspections and investigates approximately 600 consumer complaints.

When are food establishments inspected?

Random, unannounced inspections of food establishments are conducted at frequencies determined by the type of establishment. Delis, diners, catering halls, and full service restaurants are typically inspected more than once per year, "fast food" restaurants are inspected once per year. Inspections are also conducted when the Department receives complaints of illness or improper/unsanitary operation. If violations of the sanitary code are observed, the violations are documented on an inspection report and a timetable for compliance is determined.

What is a “Critical” violation?

A critical violation is more likely than other violations to be associated with those specific health standards intended to prevent the occurrence and spread of foodborne illnesses, and must be corrected at the time of inspection. Examples of critical violations include ill food workers not restricted from working, bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, and foods that require temperature control for safety not maintained at proper temperatures.

What is a “Maintenance” violation?

A maintenance violation refers to the cleanliness or structural integrity of a food establishment, or to improper sanitary practices. Examples of maintenance violations include accumulated grime on floors or equipment, unlabeled food containers, and not following proper methods for cleaning utensils and tableware.