Restaurant Inspection Results

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.

  • We inspect restaurants, food trucks, coffee shops, bars, grocery stores, and more to make sure that food is handled properly so it is safe to eat. Results of food safety inspections are public records. Search inspection results for any permanent food establishment in Whatcom County.
  • Learn about food safety violations.
  • Learn how we inspect restaurants and other food establishments for food safety.
  • Report a complaint about a restaurant or other food establishment by filling out an online form, email the Food Safety Program or call 360-778-6000

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. 

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.