Under the authority of RSA 143-A, the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) Food Protection Section licenses and inspects over 4,800 various types of food service establishments, including but not limited to, restaurants and retail food stores in 218 of the 234 cities and towns in NH.
The DPHS Food Protection Section has 7.5 FTE* inspectors focused on food establishment inspections. A variety of different types of inspections are conducted in food service establishments. Priority is given to complaint inspections, licensing inspections and schools. Inspection resources are also concentrated on facilities that may present a greater risk based upon various aspects of the food operation.
*A Full Time Equivalent (FTE) of 1.0 means that the person is equivalent to a full-time worker, while an FTE of 0.5 signals that the worker is only half-time.
The Inspection Process
Inspections conducted at food establishments are usually unannounced. Inspectors check for compliance in food handling, food temperatures, employee health and hygiene and vermin control. The focus of inspections is on priority item violations. Priority item violations are the more serious violations that have been found to contribute to foodborne illness or injury. Examples of priority item violations include improper cooking procedures, temperature abuse of food during storage, lack of hygiene and sanitation by food service workers, cross contamination between raw and ready-to-eat foods and foods from unsafe sources.
Inspections are color coded as green, yellow or red.
|Green inspections indicate that at the time of the inspection there were no priority item violations identified OR that any priority item violation(s) found was immediately and permanently corrected on site (COS) at the time of the inspection.|
|Yellow inspections indicate that a priority item violation was identified during that inspection and was not corrected immediately or permanently at the time of the inspection.|
|Red inspections indicate:
|* Examples of an imminent health hazard are an establishment that has no water or contaminated water, an establishment that has been without power for a significant period of time, an establishment that has a failed septic system, etc.|
- For establishments receiving a yellow or red inspection, a follow up inspection must occur to verify that violations have been corrected in order to change to a Green designation.
- If an establishment receives a red grade due to an imminent health hazard, the hazard must be corrected and an inspection conducted before another color grade will be issued.
- If an establishment is operating without a license it must immediately close and apply for a license or if an operating establishment has allowed its license to expire, it must close and immediately apply for its renewal license.
If you have questions, please call Food Protection at (603) 271-4589 or email.