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Food Hygiene

The Florida Department of Health in Suwannee County, Environmental Health Section

Many of the reported cases of foodborne illness are caused by bacteria or by the toxins (poisons) produced by bacteria.   Bacteria multiply extremely fast when food is kept at an unsafe temperature (above 41 and below 140 degrees Fahrenheit).  Factors that can contribute to foodborne illnesses are:

  • improper storage of food (inadequate refrigeration temperature or hot holding temperature)
  • improper washing of hands and fingernails
  • improperly cooling foods
  • cross contamination (e.g., from uncooked meat to salad fixings)
  • improperly cleaned and sanitized eating and cooking utensils, work areas, and equipment
  • contamination of food, utensils, and equipment from flies, roaches, and other pests.

In Florida, three agencies share responsibilities for ensuring that only safe, and wholesome food is provided to the public. Those agencies are the the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) , the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), and the Department of Health.

The Department of Health is responsible for working with food service establishments that include institutions, schools, civic or fraternal organizations, bars and lounges, and theaters that serve traditional theater foods (such as soft drinks, popcorn, hot dogs, etc.) The Department of Health also addresses temporary food events, mobile food units, and vending machines that operate at or through any of these facilities. County Health Departments inspect and issue food certificates to these facilities.