Restaurant Inspection

When you’re eating out, you don’t want to worry that the food you eat will make you sick. That’s why we inspect places that serve food in Whatcom County. You can search the results of food safety inspections for any restaurant or other food service establishment that we inspect.

Food Safety Rules & Regulations

The Washington State Retail Food Code outlines the rules in Washington State for safely handling food that is served to the public. If a food establishment doesn’t follow these rules, it can put your health at risk. Some violations of the food code can put you at greater risk for foodborne illness (sometimes called food poisoning).

High-risk violations (red violations) are things that can contribute directly to foodborne illness. Examples include:

  • Cooking meats to the incorrect temperature.
  • Not keeping cold food cold enough.
  • Food contamination.
  • Handwashing.
  • Serving food that is not from an approved source.
  • Worker health and hygiene.

Low risk violations (blue violations) are items related to maintenance and sanitation. These items must be corrected but are less likely to cause illness. 

Retail Food Code Changes 2022

The Washington State Board of Health adopted proposed changes to the Retail Food Code (246-215 WAC, Food Service). The majority of the provisions became effective on March 1, 2022. Please see the video and handout links below to learn more about specific topics:

Code Revision TopicVideo MaterialsPrinted Resources
Date Marking
indicación de la fecha
변경 사항: 날짜 표기
ਤਾਰੀਖ਼ ਪਾਉਣਾ
VideoPowerPoint with Notes (PDF)County Handout (PDF)
DOH Toolkit (PDF)
Employee Health
salud de los empleados
워싱턴주 소매점
 식품 규칙 변경
ਕਰਮਚਾਰੀ ਦੀ ਸਿਹਤ
VideoPowerPoint with Notes (PDF)County Handout (PDF)
FDA Employee Health handbook
Vomit and Diarrhea Cleanup
limpieza de vómitos y diarrea
토사물 및 설사 청소
ਉਲਟੀਆਂ ਅਤੇ ਦਸਤ ਦੀਆਂ ਘਟਨਾਵਾਂ ਦੀ ਸਫ਼ਾਈ

VideoPowerPoint with Notes (PDF)County Handout (PDF)
DOH Toolkit (PDF)
Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM)
gerente certificado en protección alimentaria
공인 식품안전관리사
ਸਰਟੀਫਾਈਡ ਫੂਡ ਪ੍ਰੋਟੈਕਸ਼ਨ ਮੈਨੇਜਰ 
VideoPowerPoint with Notes (PDF)County Handout (PDF)
Food Specific Changes
específicas de los alimentos
특정 식품 규칙 변경 사항 
ਭੋਜਨ ਸੰਬੰਧੀ ਖਾਸ ਨਿਯਮ ਵਿੱਚ ਤਬਦੀਲੀਆਂ 
VideoPowerPoint with Notes (PDF)
Using Refillable Containers
recarga de envases reutilizables
재사용 가능 용기에 리필하기
ਮੁੜ ਵਰਤੋਂ ਕਰਨ ਯੋਗ ਕੰਟੇਨਰਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਦੁਬਾਰਾ ਭਰਨਾ
VideoPowerPoint with Notes (PDF)DOH Toolkit (PDF)
Dogs in Outside and Inside Seating Areas
perros en áreas para sentarse en espacios cerrados y al aire libre 
실외 및 실내 좌석 공간에 개 출입
ਬਾਹਰੀ ਅਤੇ ਅੰਦਰੂਨੀ ਬੈਠਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਖੇਤਰਾਂ ਵਿੱਚ ਕੁੱਤੇ 
VideoPowerPoint with Notes (PDF)County Handout (PDF)
DOH Toolkit (PDF)

Visit these websites for more information:

During an Inspection

Food inspectors observe and record how food is handled on a Food Establishment Inspection Report. They look for:

  • Employee hygiene and health.
  • Food temperatures.
  • How food is prepared and stored.
  • How well equipment is maintained.
  • Sources of food being served.
  • Cleanliness and sanitation.

Inspectors record any violations of the rules that they see, and the operator receives a summary of findings and required corrective actions.

Inspection Results

An inspection result tells you how well the establishment performed in the inspection and if it was necessary to correct food safety violations. There are four types of inspection results:

  • Approved - This means the establishment had zero or very few safety violations, and there is no need for follow-up.
  • Follow-Up Required - This means the establishment had some violations but doesn’t need to be re-inspected. Any high-risk violations are corrected right away, and inspectors usually check in with the establishment again within 60 days.
  • Re-Inspection Required - This means the establishment had many high risk or repeat violations. All high-risk violations are corrected immediately. Inspectors increase the frequency of their inspections, and the establishment is re-inspected again within 60 days.
  • Permit Suspension - This means an establishment was ordered to close immediately, but temporarily, because there was a severe health hazard or a repeat violation. Severe health hazards include things like an outbreak of illness, sewage backup, or lack of water. When a permit is suspended, the person who operates the establishment must attend a hearing and correct all violations, and the establishment must be re-inspected before the permit is reinstated.
View All