Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I access the Chapter 511-6-1 Food Service Rules and Regulations?

Click here for the Georgia Food Service Rules and Regulations. Other resources are also available on our food service page such as application and forms for opening a restaurant, mobile and temporary food service applications, food service fees, restaurant signage, etc.

Do I need to notify the Health Department of any menu changes?

Yes, the Health Department must be notified prior to adding any food item to a menu that requires:

  • the installation of equipment or structural modification of the food service establishment,
  • involves a food preparation process, which may consist of cooking, cooling or reheating food, that was not performed in the establishment prior to the menu change,
  • or poses a health risk to consumers because it is a raw animal food served raw or undercooked.
What is an Employee Health Policy?

An Employee Health Policy is a policy that is put in place at a food service establishment that requires food employees and conditional employees to report to the CFSM and person in charge information about their health and activities as they relate to diseases that are transmissible through food. A food employee or conditional employee shall report the information in a manner that allows the CFSM and person in charge to reduce the risk of foodborne disease transmission.

If a food employee or conditional employee has any of the following symptoms they shall report it to the CFSM or person in charge:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Sore Throat with fever
  • A lesion or infected wound that is open or draining on exposed portions of body

If a food employee or conditional employee has been diagnosed with the following foodborne illness pathogens by a health practitioner, they shall report it to the CFSM or person in charge:

  • Norovirus
  • Salmonella typhi (typhoid fever)
  • Salmonella (non-typhoidal Salmonella)
  • Shigella spp.
  • E. coli  (Escherichia coli 0157:H7 or other EHEC/STEC)
  • Hepatitis A

* The Health Department requires that all food service establishments implement an Employee Health Policy. The policy must be available for all employees to have access to. All employees must sign a reporting agreement and it is the CFSM or person in charge’s responsibility to have a policy and these agreements available upon request from the Health Department.

Click here for Employee Health Policy and Reporting Agreement Forms.

What is a bodily fluid clean-up kit and where can I get one?

The Health Department requires that all food service establishments have a procedure in place when responding to an incident involving any bodily fluids such as vomit, diarrhea, and blood. The procedure shall address the specific actions employees must take to minimize the spread of contamination and the exposure of employees, consumers, food, and surfaces.

A food establishment shall have a written procedure and the appropriate clean-up kit available at all times. The kit should include a registered EPA disinfect or chlorine bleach can be used. The kit should also include personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect clothing. PPE includes a facemask, gloves, apron or gown, shoe covers, etc. Your kit should include paper towels, kitty litter, and/or sand to contain the waste immediately.

You can write and make your own procedure and bodily fluid clean-up kit with approval from the Health Department or you can click on the link below to print a procedure and what to include in you kit.

*You can also order a kit online or you can check if your food distributor (Sysco, US Foods, etc) provides them.

Do all food employees need to have a Certified Food Safety Manager certification?

No, at least one employee that has supervisory and management responsibility and the authority to direct and control food preparation and service shall be a certified food safety manager.

Can food employees have painted or artificial fingernails?

Unless wearing gloves in good repair, a food employee may not wear fingernail polish or artificial fingernails when working with exposed food. Employees shall keep their fingernails clean and trimmed to no longer than the tips of the fingers.

Why can’t food employees wear bracelets, watches or rings (other than a plain band)?

Food employees cannot wear bracelets or watches while working in the kitchen because the jewelry does not allow the employee to follow the appropriate hand washing procedure as follows: a food employee shall clean their hands and exposed portions of their arms for at least 20 seconds, using a hand antiseptic soap in a handwashing sink that is properly equipped.

When do I need to wash my hands?

Food employees shall clean their hands and exposed portions of their arms:

  • Immediately before engaging in food preparation including working with exposed food, clean equipment in utensils, and unwrapped single-service articles (cups, lids, plastic utensils, food containers, etc).
  • After touching bare human body parts other than clean hands and exposed arms.
  • After using the restroom.
  • After caring for service or aquatic animals.
  • After coughing, sneezing, using a tissue, using tobacco, eating or drinking (unless it’s in an approved cup with lid and straw).
  • After handling soiled equipment or utensils.
  • During food preparation to remove soil and contamination and to prevent cross contamination when changing tasks.
  • When switching between working from raw animal food and working with ready-to-eat food.
  • Before donning gloves to initiate a task that involves working with food.
  • After engaging in other activities that contaminate hands.

*When in doubt wash your hands!

** Using hand sanitizer without first washing your hands is not considered effective hand washing and is a violation!!

Do food employees need to wear gloves at all times in the kitchen?

No, single use gloves should be used for only one task such as working with ready-to-eat food or with raw animal food. They should be used for no other purpose and discarded when damaged or soiled, or when interruptions occur.

If an employee has fingernail polish or artificial nails, they must wear gloves at all times when working with food.

* Remember keep glove use task specific!!!

Why do employee drinks have to be in a single-service cup with a lid and straw?

A single-service cup with a lid and straw prevents the employee from contaminating his/her hands by touching a bottle or can where his/her mouth came in contact with the container.

What is a “TCS food”?

TCS stands for Time/Temperature Control for Safety. A TCS food (formally known as a “potentially hazardous food”) is a food that requires time/temperature control for safety to limit pathogenic microorganism growth or toxin formation.

Examples of TCS foods:

  • Animal food that is raw or heat-treated
  • Plant food that is heat-treated
  • Raw seed sprouts
  • Cut melons
  • Cut leafy greens
  • Cut tomatoes
  • Some garlic-in-oil mixtures
What is a “Ready-to-Eat Food”?

A Ready-to-Eat (RTE) food means a food that is in a form that is edible without additional preparation to achieve food safety, or is a raw or partially cooked animal food and the consumer is advised.

*For example: A customer orders a medium rare steak with a baked potato and a dinner roll. After these foods have been cooked and ready to serve, they are considered a ready-to-eat food.

What are the proper cooking temperatures for raw animal foods?

Raw animal foods such as eggs, fish, meat, poultry, and foods containing these raw animal foods shall be cooked to heat all parts of the food to a temperature and for a time based on the food that is being cooked.

Click here for a cooking temperature and time handout.

How should ready-to-eat and raw foods be stored in a cooler?

Raw animal foods should never be stored above ready-to-eat foods and raw product should be stored according to cook temperatures.

Click here for a food separation handout.