Food Safety

The Wood County Health Department is responsible for enforcing Ohio rules regarding food preparation and sales. This includes reviewing plans, licensing and inspecting restaurants, grocery stores, certain vending machines, and food stands at festivals and fairs. The Health Department also investigates reports of foodborne illness.

The Food Safety Program is primarily responsible to protect the community against foodborne illnesses resulting from health code violations and improper handling of food.

Plans for new operation construction and the remodeling of existing operations must be submitted to the Wood County Health Department for approval prior to construction work beginning.

Things We Do:

  • License and inspect all food service operations and retail food establishments
  • Temporary food service operations and retail food establishments
  • Approve plans for all new and renovated food-related facilities
  • Investigate foodborne illness and reports of contaminated food
  • Investigate customer complaints
  • Investigate reports of food related violations
  • Inspect vending machines that dispense food products
  • Inspect micro-markets

What are the differences in licenses?

A person who wishes to serve or sell food for a charge or required donation to the public is required by law to first obtain a license from their local health department. These licenses are issued following a facility review to ensure the design of the facility is in compliance with Ohio’s Food Safety Regulations.

Licensed food establishments can contact their Sanitarian for a Food Safety Tool Kit or to learn more about locally available trainings.

Food Service License: Issued to a location or area where food is prepared and served in individual portions. Examples include restaurants, cafeterias, and schools.

Retail Food Establishment License: Issued to a facility that sells prepackaged food items or sells multiple servings of food products. Examples include grocery stores, gas stations, and most pizza shops.

Temporary Food License: Issued to a facility that is operated at an event for no more than five consecutive days.

Mobile Food License: Issued to a moveable structure which must change locations at least once every 40 (forty) days.

Vending Machine License: Required if you sell food that requires temperature control (frozen, refrigerated, or hot food). This license is also required if the food is dispensed in an open container or cup, such as coffee, soda, soup, or hot chocolate.

Micro Market License: Issued to an unmanned store generally located within an office building or factory that offers TCS (temperature control for safety) and non-TCS food items for purchase via self-checkout kiosk. In addition, specific equipment is required. Coolers and freezers must have health switches that will automatically be activated in the event of a temperature control issue or power failure.

Classification Descriptions

Click below to open descriptions of the various types of food establishments.

As used in this division:

  • “Retail” means the sale of food to a person who is the ultimate consumer.
  • “Prepared” means any action that affects a food, including receiving and maintaining it at the temperature at which it was received.

Food Service Operation (FSO) versus Retail Food Establishment (RFE):

Food service operation means a place, location, site, or separate area where food intended to be served in individual portions is prepared or served for a charge or required donation. As used in this division, “served” means a response made to an order for one or more individual portions of food in a form that is edible without washing, cooking, or additional preparation and “prepared” means any action that affects a food other than receiving or maintaining it at the temperature at which it was received.

Except when expressly provided otherwise, “food service operation” includes a catering food service operation, food delivery sales operation, mobile food service operation, seasonal food service operation, temporary food service operation, and vending machine location.

A Retail Food Establishment means a premises or part of a premises where food is stored, processed, prepared, manufactured, or otherwise held or handled for retail sale. 

Except when expressly provided otherwise, “retail food establishment” includes a mobile retail food establishment, seasonal retail food establishment, and temporary retail food establishment.

A Temporary Retail Rood Establishment is one that is operated at an event for not more than five consecutive days, except when operated for more than five consecutive days pursuant to division (E)(2) of section 3717.23 of the Revised Code.

A Mobile Food Service Operation is one that is operated from a movable vehicle, portable structure, or watercraft and that routinely changes location, except that if the operation remains at any one location for more than forty consecutive days, the operation is no longer a mobile food service operation. 

“Mobile food service operation” includes a food service operation that does not remain at any one location for more than forty consecutive days and serves, in a manner consistent with division (F) of this section, only frozen desserts; beverages, nuts, popcorn, candy, or similar confections; bakery products identified in section 911.01 of the Revised Code; or any combination of those items.

A Catering Food Service Operation is defined in section 3717.01 of the Ohio Revised Code as one where food is prepared for serving at a function or event held at an off-premise site, for a charge determined on a per-function or per-event basis. The charge is contracted for on the basis of the entire luncheon, banquet, or event and not on the basis of an individual meal or lunch.

Concession stands at baseball, softball, football and other sporting events offer a great opportunity for athletic groups to raise money. But they also can present a food safety risk. Some of the largest problems seen at these stands include no handwashing areas and food not being kept hot or cold enough. The Health Department wants to help you make your concession sales profitable and safe. Please contact us if you have any questions.

A “Cottage Food Production Operation” is defined in Chapter 3715 of the Ohio Revised Code to mean a person who, in the person’s home, produces food items that are not potentially hazardous foods, including bakery products, jams, jellies, candy, and fruit butter. 

These foods must be labeled properly, or they will be considered misbranded or adulterated.

“Home” means the primary residence occupied by the residence’s owner, on the condition that the residence contains only one stove or oven used for cooking, which may be a double oven, designed for common residence usage and not for commercial usage, and that the stove or oven be operated in an ordinary kitchen within the residence.

Cottage Food Fact Sheet

Risk Levels

Risk levels are determined by the types of food preparation that take place, including reheating and hot holding. The risk level assigned to an establishment effects the license fee. 

Click below to expand the description of Risk Levels in Food Service Operations/Retail Food Establishments.

Main concerns: general sanitation, labeling, source of food, storage temperature control, and expiration dates.

  • Pre-packaged non-TCS foods (temperature control for safety)
  • Non-potentially hazardous beverages (packaged, fountain, coffee)
  • Pre-packaged refrigerated and/or frozen potentially hazardous foods
  • Baby food, baby formula

Main concerns: level 1 concerns. Additionally: hand contact, employee health. Permits handling of potentially hazardous foods in situations where there is little or no potential for pathogen growth resulting in foodborne disease should bacteria contamination occur.

  • Baking of non-TCS food
  • Manufacturing of confectionary products
  • Bulk displays of unwrapped non-TCS foods
  • Re-packaging of non-TCS food prepared elsewhere
  • Warming of food from a commercially processed hermetically sealed container and immediately handled for retail sale or service
  • Maintaining hot TCS foods at proper holding temperature until handled for retail or service if it was received at 140f or above
  • Manufacture and bagging of ice for retail sale
  • The operation only prepares and/or services non-TCS food
  • Hand dipping of frozen desserts, frozen dessert dispenser
  • TCS foods received in individual portions and served immediately
  • Foods, prepackaged in individual portions, received from a licensed food operation or off premise commercial processor and served cold/heated individually and immediately served
  • Foods received from a licensed food operation or off premise commercial processor in bulk quantities and maintained and served at the same proper temperature as received

Main concerns: includes those of level 1 and 2. Additionally: proper cooking temperatures, proper cooling procedures, proper holding temperatures, contamination issues and/or improper heat treatment in association with longer holding times before consumption, or processing a raw food product to sell as ready-to-eat that requires bacterial load reduction procedures.

  • Processing of produce for ready-to-eat sell
  • Cutting or grinding of meat products, slicing of lunch meat
  • Cook/serve, cook/cool, cook/hot hold, cook/cool/cold hold
  • Heating of a product from an intact hermetically sealed package and held hot
  • Cook, cool, add additional raw ingredients, cold hold
  • Reheat in individual portions only

Main concerns: process controls, concerns of levels 1,2,3. Additionally: concerns associated with food or ingredients going through several preparation steps where temperature control is needed to preclude bacterial growth; offering as ready-to-eat raw TCS meats, poultry products, fish, or shellfish or foods with these raw TCS items as ingredients; or the use of freezing as a means of parasite destruction.

  • Cook/cool/reheat/hot hold
  • Cook/hold/cool/reheat (with or without additional ingredients being added)
  • Time in lieu of temperature
  • Freezing of fish to destroy parasites before sale or service in a ready-to-eat form, raw, raw-marinated, partially cooked, or marinated-partially cooked fish
  • Reheating bulk quantities of leftover TCS foods more than once a week
  • Transports TCS food as a catering food service operation or commissary food service operation
  • Serving primarily to a high-risk clientele including immune-compromised or elderly individuals in a facility that provides health care or assisted living
  • Offers as a menu item raw TCS meats, poultry, fish, or shellfish or foods with these raw TCS items as ingredients


All prepackaged products must have the following:

  • Product Identity
  • Statement of Ingredients
  • Statement of Responsibility
  • Declaration of net quantity of contents
  • Refrigeration or Frozen
  • Nutritional Labeling – Exemptions
  • Sale Dates
  • UPC Code

Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Labeling Requirements

There are more than 250 different foodborne diseases caused by different bacteria, viruses, parasites, toxins and chemicals. These different diseases have many different symptoms. However, the most common first symptoms are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Seek medical attention
  • Call the Wood County Health Department at 419-352-8402 
  • Save any of the suspected food
  • Write down everything you’ve eaten in the last three days
  • Take this survey