Food Protection

Office of Food Protection

The Office of Food Protection routinely inspects food service establishments, investigates foodborne disease outbreaks, responds to complaints, and provides training for food industry personnel. Under this jurisdiction, the Nassau County Department of Health permits over 5,700 food serving establishments in Nassau County, including restaurants, delis, mobile food trucks, schools, senior feeding units, and food vending units. It also reviews plans for new and renovated food-service establishments.

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Who needs a permit?

Establishments that prepare or serve ready-to-eat foods for on- or off-site consumption are required to have a food establishment permit. Examples include restaurants, delicatessens, retail bakeries, school cafeterias, taverns, as well as mobile units, and temporary stands at fairs and festivals. 

Facilities such as supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, wholesale clubs and bakeries, fish, meat, and produce markets, food manufacturers and other food selling establishments are licensed by the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets (718-722-2876).

How do I obtain a permit?

To secure a food establishment permit for an existing restaurant you must submit a completed application, appropriate fee, and supporting documentation. This checklist will display what documentation you will need. Please call 516-227-9717 to inquire about applying. 

If the food establishment you are assuming has been closed for more than six months, you will be required to submit to Plan Review. For facilities that have been closed for less than six months, with no major renovations or change of use/menu taking place, a walk-through of the facility may be necessary. Depending on the finding of the walk-through, Plan Review may be required.

What if I am building a new restaurant or renovating an existing one?

Prior to construction or renovation of a food service establishment, the operator must submit plans and applications for review. The plans should include the floor layout, all culinary equipment specifications, plumbing, lighting, ventilation, refuse storage facilities, sewage disposable facilities, and similar information. The submission should be as complete as possible. Please provide equipment information (make & model numbers/specification sheets). Once plans are approved and construction is complete, a pre-operational inspection must be conducted by this department. It is the responsibility of the operator to construct, equip, furnish, maintain, and operator the food service establishment under their control in compliance with the requirements of Chapter 1 of the New York State Sanitary Code [Subpart 14-1] and other applicable laws, rules, and regulations. 

Other agencies have concerns with new or renovated facilities. You must have all of your various approvals in place to open your food facility. 

Please download our Food Service Establishment Construction Guide & Requirements packet and review it carefully. Plan Review Applications may be downloaded at your convenience as well. Should you have any questions, please call 516-27-9717 to speak to a Plan Review Officer or email us at foodplanreview@nassaucountyny.gov .

Food Service Establishment Construction Guide & Requirements

Plan Review Application

I want to operate a food truck/trailer. What do I need to do?

Your mobile unit must meet the minimum requirements set out by this Department and successfully complete the Plan Review process:

Minimum Requirements for Mobile Units

Permits take the form of stickers that are adhered to your mobile unit upon a successful initial inspection. You may not operate your mobile unit until this initial inspection is completed and stickers are issued.

Please note that the Health Department does not get involved with the location you propose to  operate your truck within the county. You must contact local jurisdictions for any additional permits (e.g. Peddler’s Licenses) and/or permissions needed to operate in specific locations.

How can I obtain a permit to operate a catering service or retail bakery from my house?

In no case will a permit be issued for a non-commercial (private) kitchen or residence in Nassau County. The provision of food to anyone outside your immediate family or circle of friends by definition would classify an operation as a catering service. The legal options include either buying or leasing an existing business, constructing one in owned or leased commercially zoned space, or subleasing space from a food service operation currently under permit by the department.

Food Managers Training Course

It is required that all high-risk food service establishments have a Nassau County certified food manager on staff. For those food facilities open for more than 12 continuous hours, a second certified food manager is required. It is recommended that a Nassau County certified food manager be on duty during all hours of the operation. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person classes have been cancelled. Operators will be provided extensions to their Certificate expiration dates and will not be penalized at this time.

What signs do I need to hang up in my restaurant?

You are required to conspicuously post your permit to operate and any Nassau County Food Managers certificates. Additionally, you must display the following posters/signs:

How can I make a complaint regarding a local restaurant?

We will need the exact name and address of the restaurant and the complaint you would like addressed. If you would like to be notified of our findings, you can leave your name and a phone number where you can be reached so the inspector can call you back with the results. All complaints are kept anonymous. Call 516-227-9717 or send us a message.

Supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, wholesale clubs and bakeries, fish, meat and produce markets, food manufactures and other food selling establishments are inspected and licensed by the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets. To make a complaint regarding these facilities, you may contact NYSDAM at 718-722-2876 or 1-800-554-4501.

Who do I call if I got sick from eating food from a local restaurant?

You may call in food-borne illness complaints at 516-227-9717, weekdays, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Experienced sanitarians will interview you and any other involved patrons regarding the nature of your illness and any foods you may have consumed. 

For more information about food-borne illnesses, click here.

When do food establishments get inspected?

Food establishments that are new or have undergone a change of ownership are typically inspected within the first few weeks of operation. Thereafter, the inspection frequency is determined by the type of operation that is conducted. Additionally, an inspector will be dispatched to a food establishment in response to a complaint or emergency.

Temporary Events (Fairs, Carnivals, Festivals, etc.)

Sponsors/hosts of temporary events must fill out the Sponsors Application and pay a non-refundable $100 application fee. They are also responsible for collecting all of their Food Vendors’ Applications and fees (if applicable). The temporary event paperwork should be submitted as a package for review. Sponsor Applications are to be submitted no less than 30 days prior to the event. Any additional Food Vendor Applications, not submitted with the initial package, must be received in this office no more than three business days prior to the event before incurring a late fee. All fees are to be paid via certified check, money order or credit card. Applications and other documents can be found below: 

What permits do I need to host or serve food at a temporary event?

Sponsors/hosts of temporary events must fill out the Sponsors Application and pay a non-refundable $100 application fee. They are also responsible for collecting all of their Food Vendors’ Applications and fees (if applicable). The temporary event paperwork should be submitted as a package for review. Sponsor Applications are to be submitted no less than 30 days prior to the event. Any additional Food Vendor Applications, not submitted with the initial package, must be received in this office no more than three business days prior to the event before incurring a late fee. All fees are to be paid via certified check, money order or credit card. Applications and other documents can be found below:

Sponsor Application for Temporary Event

Food Vendor Application for Temporary Event

Temporary Event Food Vendor Minimum Requirements

Temporary Event Fee Schedule
 

Regulations & Enforcement

Click here for Summary and Guidelines for Food Protection.

Food Service Operators who are found to be in violation of the New York Public Health Law, New York State Sanitary Code, and Nassau County Public Health Ordinance are subject to fines or other Enforcement action. To learn more, click here.

What are “critical” and “non-critical” violations?

Critical violations are those which cause a threat to food safety, possible resulting in foodborne illness. Correction is required immediately. Examples include violations regarding food temperatures, barehand contact with ready-to-eat foods, unapproved food sources, and more. 

Non-critical violations are commonly referred to as sanitation or maintenance violations. They typically involve general cleaning and maintenance of food service equipment of structural deficiencies. 

Additional Resources & Printable Materials