Panhandle Health District 800-878-2364

Food Safety

Gloved hands putting together a sandwich

Safe food. Healthy communities.

Panhandle Health District and the food industry share responsibility for ensuring that our community’s food supply is safe. Environmental Health Specialists provide the following services to ensure a safe food supply:

  • Enforce the State of Idaho Rules Governing Food Safety and Sanitation Standards.
  • Permit and inspect all regulated food establishments.
  • Review plans for new and remodeled food establishments.
  • Conduct food management training classes.
  • Handle food complaints from the public, investigate complaints, and take corrective actions, if needed.

Environmental Health

Kootenai Co.: (208) 415-5220
Benewah Co.: (208) 245-4556
Bonner Co.: (208) 265-6384
Boundary Co.: (208) 267-5558
Shoshone Co.: (208) 783-0707
Hours: 8:00am – 4:30pm

Email: EHApplications@phd1.idaho.gov
Address: 8500 N. Atlas Rd. Hayden, ID 83835

Local Restaurant Scores

Panhandle Health District Environmental Health Specialists conduct regular inspections of restaurants, taverns, grocery stores, meat markets, farmer’s markets, schools, food processors, and other facilities that handle Potentially Hazardous Foods (PHF’s) to determine proper hygiene and food handling practices of operators and their employees.

All food facilities receive one unannounced inspection each year. When critical violations are noted during an inspection, they must be corrected immediately or the inspector will have to schedule a follow-up inspection or issue a violation correction report.

You can search our database for inspections either by the name of the food establishment or by the city in which it resides or by utilizing both. The database maintains data for the last three years.

Due to recent changes to the Idaho Food Code and the associated inspection format, this query only includes inspections conducted after July 1, 2016.

Cottage Foods

Cottage food operations are allowed to produce foods that do not require time and/or temperature control for safety. These types of foods are frequently referred to as non-TCS foods. Cottage food operations are allowed to distribute non-TCS food items directly to a consumer within Idaho without any regulatory oversight.

Distribution of any foods (including non-TCS foods) to a third party, including wholesale, consignment, or distribution of any foods outside of Idaho will result in the operation being legally classified as a food establishment and, subject to applicable regulatory requirements.

Allowed non-TCS foods (July 1, 2015):

  • Baked goods that do not require refrigeration
  • Fruit jams and jellies
  • Honey
  • Fruit pies
  • Breads
  • Cakes that do not require refrigeration
  • Pastries and cookies that do not require refrigeration
  • Candies and confections that do not require refrigeration
  • Dried fruits
  • Dry herbs
  • Seasonings and mixtures
  • Cereals
  • Trail mixes and granola

Food Borne Illness

If you think you have food poisoning or an allergic reaction to food, call your doctor. If it’s an emergency, dial 911.

If you believe you or someone you know became ill from eating a certain food, contact Panhandle Health District.

Why It’s Important to Report Food Poisoning

When two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink, the event is called a foodborne outbreak. Reporting illnesses to your local health department helps them identify potential outbreaks of foodborne disease. Public health officials investigate outbreaks to control them, so more people do not get sick in the outbreak, and to learn how to prevent similar outbreaks from happening in the future.

Top 5 Foodborne Illness Risk Factors

Improper hot and cold holding temperatures of potentially hazardous foods

Potentially hazardous foods that are going to be held at cold temperatures (i.e. refrigerated) must be held at a temperature of 41°F. Examples of cold holding methods include walk-in coolers, prep coolers, cold top tables, holding foods on ice, refrigerated displays, and the use of refrigerated trucks. Potentially hazardous foods that are going to be held at hot temperatures must be held at a temperature of 135°F or above. Examples of hot holding methods include steam tables, crock pots, heat lamps, double boilers, and hot holding cases/cabinets. The temperature range between 41°F and 135°F is called the danger zone. Food facility operators must take every precaution to minimize the amount of time that potentially hazardous foods spend in the danger zone.

Improper cooking temperatures of foods

Cooking food to the proper temperatures is extremely important because many raw meats have pathogenic bacteria on them naturally, such as salmonella on raw chicken. Cooking is the only food preparation step that will actually kill bacteria.

  • Raw poultry such as chicken, duck, and turkey-165°F
  • Raw ground meats such as ground beef and sausage-155°F
  • Raw pork, fish, eggs, lamb, and whole pieces of beef-145°F
  • Fruits and vegetables prior to hot holding-135°F

Dirty or contaminated utensils and equipment

When utensils or equipment become dirty or contaminated, they can transfer that contamination to the food causing a foodborne illness. In order to prevent this from happening, utensils, food preparation equipment, and food contact surfaces should be washed, rinsed, and sanitized at least once every 4 hours. This can be done manually in a 3-compartment sink, in a mechanical dish machine, or through a clean-in-place procedure for large pieces of equipment.

Poor employee health and hygiene

It is imperative that food workers are in good health while preparing food. A food worker that has been diagnosed with an acute gastrointestinal illness (GI), or is showing symptoms such as diarrhea, or vomiting in conjunction with diarrhea, could potentially contaminate food. Proper hand washing goes “hand-in-hand” with employee health when preventing food-borne illness outbreaks. Food-borne illnesses are often caused by food workers contaminating their hands and then touching food or other food contact surfaces without first washing their hands. It is imperative to wash your hands before touching food, utensils, or food contact surfaces.

Food from unsafe sources

Any food that is to be sold, served, given away, or used as an ingredient, must be obtained from an approved source. An approved source is a facility where the food produced, prepared, or processed, meets or exceeds the standards of the responsible regulatory agency. This most commonly means that the facility has a valid permit and is inspected on a regular basis by a regulatory agency.

Licensing and Applications

An annual application and fee is required as adopted by the 1997 Legislature under Senate Bill 1003, amending Idaho Code 39-1601 through 39-1608. Idaho’s food rules state, “An application without the license fee is not complete and cannot be processed.”
Idaho Code 39-1604 states, “No person, firm or corporation shall operate a food establishment handling potentially hazardous food, for which no other state or federal food safety inspection or license is required , without a license approved by the director of the Department of Health and Welfare or his designee.”

Training and Certifications

ServSafe classes are postponed until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Idaho State Food Safety Certification Class

About Food Safety Certification:

The Idaho State food safety course covers basic microbiology, food borne illnesses and the general requirements for food handlers in the Idaho Food Code. The course includes information on safety and maintenance and operation of most common food service equipment.

At the end of the class, participants may take PHD’s exam to obtain a food safety certification card, which is valid only in Idaho. You may also obtain an Idaho State Food Safety and Sanitation Certificate online through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Please bring a valid, state issued ID for the exam.

Location: For large groups we may be able to come to you.
Cost: FREE
For more information call 208) 415-5220

Certified Food Protection Manager

Per recent updates to Idaho Food Code, as of July 1, 2018, at least one supervisory employee must show proficiency of required information through passing a test that is part of an accredited food safety program. Each food establishment shall have at least one available supervisor trained in food safety and sanitation and shall have employed food workers who are trained in food safety and sanitation, which is commensurate to each food worker’s responsibilities.

Get certified
The directory below includes links to currently accredited food safety certification programs. Panhandle Health District does not endorse any one particular course.

About ServSafe®

ServSafe® is an 8-hour food safety course sanctioned by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and designed to provide food service managers with the knowledge necessary to meet state and national standards. The certification is valid for five years and can be used anywhere in the United States. The course is intended for food service managers but is open to all food service employees.

Panhandle Health District offers in-person ServSafe® classes monthly in Hayden. We can accommodate up to 35 attendees per class. Attendees must bring a valid, state issued ID to the course.

Location: 8500 N. Atlas Rd. Hayden, ID 83835
2020 Dates: Third Friday of the month
Time: 8:30am – 5:00pm
Cost: $125.00; lunch and materials provided.
Register: (208) 415-5220

Attendees must call to sign-up for the class at least one week prior to the class date. Once registered, students can pick up their course materials, informational/welcome letter, and a diagnostic exam. We recommend that all students review materials prior to the class, if possible.

Food Safety Program

Monitoring Food Safety in North Idaho

Panhandle Health District Environmental Health Specialists conduct regular inspections of restaurants, taverns, grocery stores, meat markets, farmer’s markets, schools, food processors, and other facilities that handle Potentially Hazardous Foods (PHF’s) to determine proper hygiene and food handling practices of operators and their employees.

All food facilities receive one unannounced inspection each year. When critical violations are noted during an inspection, they must be corrected immediately or the inspector will have to schedule a follow-up inspection or issue a violation correction report.

You can search our database for inspections either by the name of the food establishment or by the city in which it resides or by utilizing both. The database maintains data for the last three years.

Due to recent changes to the Idaho Food Code and the associated inspection format, this query only includes inspections conducted after July 1, 2016.