What We Do
- Inspect places where food is eaten, processed, sold or stored (restaurants, markets, food stands, carnivals, etc.) for sanitation and food safety
- Investigate complaints of suspected foodborne illness, insanitary conditions and other problems
- Review plans and inspect construction of food facilities
- Inspect wholesale food manufacturers and distributors for sanitation and food safety
- Inspect and sample retail ice cream/yogurt/soft-serve machines
Food Service Operations
Missing Food Handler Card Tracking Sheet
Spreadsheet to track missing food handler cards
Safe Schools Action Guide
Link to strategies that schools can implement to prevent foodborne illness
Approved commissaries that service catering vehicles, ice cream trucks, ice cream pushcarts and hot dog carts.
Community Event & Temporary Food Facilities
Temporary Event Health Permit Is For:
- Temporary food facility (TFF) vendors
- TFF event organizers
- Temporary body art vendors
- Temporary body art event organizers
Special Event Portable Toilet Recommendations
Chart to calculate the number of portable toilets necessary for an event.
Mobile Food Facilities
Food Facility Equipment
Be Your Own Inspector – Soft-Serve and Frozen Yogurt Machine Operators
Breaking it Down: Soft Serve Machines (VIDEO)
Calibrating a Metal Stem Thermometer – English and Español
How to Take Care of Your Grease Interceptor/Grease Trap
Keep Commercial Deli Slicers Safe – English and Español
Managing Fat, Oil, and Grease – English and Español
Temperature Log for Hot Holding
Three Compartment Sink – English and Español
Towel Sanitizing Solution English and Español
Information for Your Kitchen at Home
Limited Service Charitable Feeding Operations
Safe Food Handling
A Quick Guide to Safe Food Handling
Cooking a Safe Quality Hamburger
Cooking Temperatures – English and Español
Cooling Hot Food Safely – English and Español
Handling and Storing Poultry Safely
Handwashing Done Right – English and Español
How to Keep Food Out of the Danger Zone
How to Spot Visible Can Defects
How to Avoid Cross-Contamination – English and Español
Proper Food Defrosting – English and Español
Proper Handling of Raw and Cooked Beef
Safe Food Handling – English and Español
Sushi Rice Guidelines
Food Facility Regulations
General Information/Reference Documents
Active Managerial Control- English and Español
Complimentary Food Service Fact Sheet
Donated Food Information with Related Legal References
Food Distribution at Breweries and Wineries
Food Safety Practices Overview – English and Español
If You See Something, Say Something – Notice from FDA to Food Facility Owners
If You See Something, Say Something – Suspicious Activity Awareness
No Power Now What ? Flyer- English and Spanish
Food Safety After An Earthquake Flyer
Restaurant Ratings – English and Español
Top 5 CDC Risk Factors Contributing to Foodborne Illness – English and Español
What Should I do if My Employee is Sick- English and Español
Guidelines for Allowing Pets into Dinning Areas
Service Animals and Food Facilities FAQs
Host Facility Plan Submittal Checklist
Host Facility and Catering Agreement
Food Safety HELP for Persons in Charge Training
In addition, persons in charge of a Food Facility are encouraged to take the “Food Safety HELP for Persons in Charge” Course. This training will teach persons in charge how to utilize Active Managerial Control, or how to proactively incorporate food safety practices in their establishments to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. Upon successful completion of this course, participants will receive a certificate of completion and will have the opportunity to obtain and print a variety of food safety posters. NOTE: This module will not provide you with a food worker card. Please refer to the Food Worker Training and Test to obtain an official Food Worker Card.
Charitable Feeding Operations
Did you know that in the United States 40% of food produced goes uneaten? That is 62.5 million tons of wasted food every year. Meanwhile, there were 42.2 million people, including 13.1 million children, who did not have enough food to lead a healthy, active lifestyle in 2015. While reducing hunger in the US will require addressing the root causes of poverty, donations of wholesome, fresh food can be an important strategy to addressing the immediate needs of millions of Americans.
You can help reduce food loss, and feed those in need by donating your surplus food. Donors are protected under the Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act and the California Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (AB 1219).
The benefits of donating surplus food include, but are not limited to: Community investment and support, corporate image, tax incentives, reduced impact on local landfills, the environment, the planet, and strategy to meet state mandates such as AB 1826.
Volunteers and staff who handle food for charitable feeding operations are encouraged to take this Charitable Feeding Operations food safety training module. This free course is intended to train the public on how to keep food safe and prevent the spread of foodborne illness. Training is available in English and Spanish and the course is 22 minutes long. This module will not provide you with a Food Handler Card. Please refer to the Food Handler Training and Test to obtain an official Food Handler Card.
Youth Sports Snack Bars
Beginning January 2015, all youth sports snack bar operations that prepare, sell and/or distribute food to the public will have to be inspected and permitted by DEHS. Per the California Health & Safety (H & S) Code §113713, DEHS is the responsible agency for enforcing all food protection laws of the state within the County of San Bernardino. Operations at snack bars must meet applicable state requirements to ensure food handling practices are performed in a safe manner.
Food Safety Courses
Youth Sporting Events Food Safety Training
To assist with those changes, the County of San Bernardino Environmental Health Services has collaborated with StateFoodSafety.com in making a brief online Food Safety Course for Youth Sporting Event Snack Bars. Volunteers that handle food and/or food contact surfaces at snack bars are strongly encouraged to complete this course. Upon successful completion, participants will receive a certificate of completion and will have the opportunity to obtain and print a variety of food safety posters. NOTE: This module will not provide you with a food worker card. Please refer to the Food Worker Training and Test to obtain an official Food Worker Card.
Community Food Producers
The following information is for Community Food Producers including but not limited to culinary gardens, community gardens, personal gardens, school gardens and egg producers that supply produce/eggs to food operations regulated by DEHS or directly to the public. Community food producers may sell or provide whole, uncut fruits or vegetables or unrefrigerated shell eggs directly to the public, to a permitted restaurant or a Cottage Food Operation if they meet all requirements imposed. Egg production is limited to 15 dozen eggs per month. The purpose of these guidelines is to help minimize microbial food safety hazards for fresh produce. By using Best Management Practices (BMPs) for California Small Farm Food Safety as described by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), operators will reduce microbial hazards for the produce that are grown, prepared and sold. The BMP documents can be found in the California Small Farm Food Safety Guidelines. All Community Food Producers are required to complete the Community Food Producer Registration Form below and return it to DEHS.
Food Worker Training and Test/Food Manager Certification
For prepackaged permit, no food handling certifications are required. For limited and/or full food preparation permits with potentially hazardous food, the following applies. Persons that work and/or are employed to handle food at snack bars, and the person in charge of a snack bar, are required to take the Food Worker Training and Test to obtain an official San Bernardino County food worker card within 14 calendar days following the date of employment. Within 60 days of commencement of operation, at least one person must take an approved Food Manager Certification Training and obtain a valid Food Manager Certification. Ideally this would be the person in charge. The Food Manager Certification supersedes the food worker card. Visit our Food Handlers and Managers webpage for more information on the Food Worker Training and Test and Food Manager Certification Training.
We permit vending machines with potentially hazardous food products such as ice cream, cold sandwiches, and open cup beverages. Help us identify expired permits on vending machines with these products. If you see an expired permit, please call or text us at 1 (800) 442-2283 or submit a complaint online. Please do not notify us about vending machines with prepackaged snacks or canned soda.
A micro market is a retail food facility that allows customers to purchase prepackaged fresh foods, fruits, health snacks, and beverages via unattended self-checkout kiosks. Micro markets may be located in office buildings or restricted break areas where access by the general public is somewhat restricted. A micro market is serviced on a pre-set schedule to ensure the equipment is cleaned and working properly, and food shelves and refrigerated and/or freezer units are stocked with new products. In order to obtain approval for a micro market, plans must be submitted to the Division of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) Plan Check program for review and approval. After plans are approved, an on-site inspection is conducted to determine if a health permit can be issued.
Nutritional Labeling Requirements
Senate Bill 20 requires that all chain restaurants (with 20 or more establishments nationwide) provide consumers with nutritional information of calorie content for all standard menu items prepared and sold as part of their establishment. Review the Menu Labeling document for more information.
Raw Oyster Warning
The sale of raw oysters harvested from the Gulf of Mexico during April 1 through October 31 is restricted in the State of California unless the oysters are treated with a scientifically validated process to reduce Vibrio vulnificus to non-detectable levels (pasteurized). Raw Gulf oysters received during April through October that have not been processed to reduce C. vulnificus to non-detectable levels (pasteurized) are considered adulterated. Retailers receiving and selling raw Gulf oysters harvested during November through March should post the following warning sign.
Raw Oyster Warning Sign (printable for display in food facilities).
Food Facilities Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does Environmental Health make restaurants safer?
A: Environmental Health Specialists inspect all food facilities twice a year, looking at how food is handled, stored, and prepared; the personal hygiene and habits of the employees; and the general cleanliness of the facility. The Environmental Health Specialist has access to the entire food facility, but as a consumer, you can also view some of these things from the dining area. If you would like to see an inspection report on a food facility, the food facility operator will provide a copy of the most recent inspection report for review by the public upon request. You can also look in our Restaurant Ratings link to review a facility’s inspection score, grade and any violations they may have had at the time of inspection.
Q: Is it a violation of the law for a food handler to touch food with his/her bare hands?
A: The California Retail Food Code does not prohibit bare hand contact with food as long as the food handler complies with the strict hand washing requirements as required by law and does not engage in any activity which could contaminate food. Environmental Health strongly encourages the use of utensils (scoops, forks, tongs, paper wrappers, gloves, etc.) whenever possible to minimize bare hand contact with ready to eat foods. To obtain more information, please view our hand washing flyers available in English and Spanish.
Q: How do I report a food facility for health code violations?
A: Environmental Health investigates consumer complaints regarding food safety and sanitation at all retail food facilities in San Bernardino County. If you have a consumer complaint regarding a San Bernardino County food facility, please call 909-884-4056 to report the complaint. Please provide the name and address of the facility you want investigated and explain the conditions you are reporting. You may also complete the Online Complaint Form.
Q: I think I got sick from food. How do I file a report?
A: All possible foodborne illnesses that are reported to Environmental Health are investigated. If you believe that you became ill due to a food product purchased in San Bernardino County you may call 909-884-4056 to report the incident. Be prepared to answer questions about the onset time, duration, and types of symptoms. Try to compile a list of all foods and drinks consumed for up to two days prior to the first signs of illness, as this information is critical for the investigation. You may also complete the Online Complaint Form. Some commercially distributed prepackaged foods are regulated by other State and Federal agencies. Environmental Health can assist in making referrals to the correct agency.
Q: My refrigerator door was accidentally left open overnight. Can I still eat the food inside?
A: The answer to this question depends on the temperature of the food and how long it was held without refrigeration. Use a food thermometer to measure the temperature on the inside of the food. If the food is not above 41°F, then it should be safe to eat. If the food has been above 41°F, then it is critical to determine how long it has been above 41°F. If the food has been above 41°F for less than two hours, it should be safe for immediate use. If the food has been above 41°F for more than two hours, then it is safest to discard these items.
Q: What is the required holding temperature for hot/cold food?
A: Minimum hot holding temperatures and maximum cold holding temperatures are only required for potentially hazardous foods. Potentially hazardous foods are foods that are capable of supporting the rapid growth of disease causing microorganisms (e.g. meat, dairy, poultry, fish, and other high moisture/ protein foods). Potentially hazardous foods must be held at or below 41°F or at or above 135°F.
Q: What is the required cooking temperature for hamburger, pork and poultry?
A: Foods that contain ground beef need to be cooked until the internal temperature is 155°F for 15 seconds. Pork must be cooked until the internal temperature is 145°F for 15 seconds. Poultry must be cooked until the internal temperature is 165°F for 15 seconds. Measuring the internal temperature with a metal-stemmed probe thermometer is the only safe way of determining when the product properly cooked.
Q: Can you test my food to see if there is anything wrong with it?
A: Environmental Health does not routinely perform laboratory testing on food products in the possession of the consumer. If testing is conducted, it is usually done as part of an ongoing investigation. The Environmental Health Specialist in charge of the investigation will ask for a product release from the consumer if testing is necessary. If you would like a product tested for your own information, there are a number of private analytical testing laboratories listed in the telephone directory that have the ability to test food. They are listed in the yellow pages under Laboratories.
Q: What do code dates mean on food products?
A: Manufacturers of baby formula are required to date their products. After this date, these products must be removed from sale. However, with all other packaged food products, code dates are voluntary. These dates are a recommended by the manufacture for quality assurance. These products may remain available for sale even though they have gone past their expiration date.
Q: What do I have to do to start a food business out of my home?
A: Food preparation/distribution is not allowed at home without a health permit/registration. If you would like to prepare and sell non-potentially hazardous food from home, you must apply for a Cottage Food Operations registration or health permit with the County of San Bernardino, Division of Environmental Health Services. Before you are able to apply for this registration or health permit, you must have approval from your local city planning department. If you live in a County area, you must obtain approval from the County Land Use Services Department. Although a Cottage Food Operations permit/registration will allow you to prepare and sell food from home, there are restrictions that apply. For more information, please see our Cottage Food Operations page. Please note: Potentially hazardous food cannot be prepared at or distributed from a home.
Q: What do I have to do to open a food facility and obtain a health permit?
A: If you intend to build a food facility from the ground up or remodel an existing building that has never been a food facility you will need to submit plans to our Plan Check Program prior to any construction. Please refer to our Plan Check page for additional information.
Q: I’m thinking of buying an existing food business. What do I need to do?
A: You will need to obtain a Health Permit from Environmental Health Services in your name as permits are not transferable. Contact our office and check to see if the facility will need to go through our Plan Check process.
Q: What is Vibrio vulnificus?
A: Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium in the same family that causes cholera. These bacteria normally live in warm seawater such as in the Gulf of Mexico and are commonly associated with live or raw oysters that are consumed. Vibrio vulnificus can infect the bloodstream causing a severe and life-threatening illness characterized by fever and chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock), and blistering skin lesions. Vibrio vulnificus bloodstream infections are 50% fatal.
Q: How do I get a San Bernardino County food handler’s card?
A: Please visit our food handler page for additional information on how to obtain or renew a food handler certificate.
Mobile Food Facilities Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Community Event?
A: A “Community Event” is an event of civic, political, public, or educational nature, including state and county fairs, city festivals, circuses, and other public gathering events approved by DEHS.
Q: What is a Mobile Food Facility?
A: A Mobile Food Facility can be classified as a cart or vehicle used for prepackaged potentially hazardous and non-potentially hazardous foods or vehicles where food preparation is observed.
Q: I would like to purchase a Mobile Food Facility. What are the basic requirements?
A: Refer to the Mobile Food Facility- Build It Right or contact DEHS Plan Check at 800-442-2283.
Q: I have an existing food truck. How can I obtain a health permit to operate?
A: The truck must undergo Plan Check Review and meet all DEHS Plan Check requirements. Contact Plan Check at 800-442-2283 for additional information.
Q: I have a food truck approved and permitted in Orange County and Los Angeles County. What do I need in order to operate in San Bernardino County?
A: In order for the vehicle to operate in San Bernardino County, the vehicle must go through a DEHS modified plan review process. Contact Plan Check at 800-442-2283 for additional information.
Q: What is the cost for Plan Review?
A: Please see our current fee schedule, available on our website.
Q: Do I need a business License/peddler’s License?
A: If you plan to operate in unincorporated County areas you will need approval from the County Planning Department. If you plan to operate in an incorporated area, you may need a business license from the local jurisdiction. Call the appropriate city for specific requirements.
Q: Do I need a health permit to operate my food truck?
A: Yes. All food trucks operating in San Bernardino County shall have a valid County of San Bernardino DEHS Health Permit.
Q: What will it cost for an annual health permit?
A: Please see our current fee schedule, available on our website.
Q: What are the requirements to sell food to the public from temporary food facilities?
A: Temporary food operations have specific requirements that are contained in the California Retail Food Code. Temporary food facilities are restricted as to where they may operate. They must operate at a “Community Event” that is pre-approved by DEHS. The community event organizer must give approval to each vendor to operate at that event. After approval by the event organizer, each food vendor must obtain a Health Permit from DEHS at least 48 hours before the event. DEHS has developed a packet that will assist you. Specific requirements can be found in the temporary food facilities section.
Q: Can I store my Mobile Food Facility at home?
A: All mobile food facilities must be serviced at a DEHS-approved commissary.
Q: Can I operate my vehicle at a private event?
A: Check with the local jurisdiction for restrictions.
Q: What type of activities can I perform outside of my vehicle?
A: Barbequing is permitted. However, no food preparation or assembly is allowed outside the vehicle. Contact the local jurisdiction for specific requirements.
Q: How often will the truck be inspected?
A: A Mobile Food Facility with an annual MFF health permit with the County will be inspected three times per year: one “in-office” inspection and two unannounced field inspections conducted annually.
Q: When will I receive a letter grade?
A: A Mobile Food Facility with an annual MFF health permit will be issued a letter grade at the conclusion of each of the two routine field inspections.
Q: Where do I post the letter grade?
A: The letter grade will be posted by a DEHS health inspector in a location that is clearly visible to the general public and shall remain in place until the next routine field inspection.
Q: Does everyone working in the vehicle need to have a Food Worker Certification?
A: All employees handling food shall have their food worker certification available for review upon inspection.
Q: Are Food Safety Certificates (Manager Certifications) required for food preparation vehicles?
A: Yes, at least one person in the vehicle shall have a valid Food Safety Certificate available for review in the vehicle. Only the original version will be permitted.