Food Protection

The purpose of the food sanitation program is to prevent foodborne illness, promote food safety and protect the citizens of Jo Daviess County.

The department staff permits about 250 food establishments annually. Each establishment is inspected once or twice a year, depending on level of complexity of food preparation. Comprehensive inspections look for cleanliness, proper food handling, physical environment and food storage practices. Re-inspections are conducted, as needed, to verify that items identified during the initial inspection are corrected. Education of food establishment personnel is available to improve food handling practices and to address areas of concern. Staff also permits/registers temporary food events, farmer’s market and cottage food vendors, and assist the Communicable Disease Division with investigations of suspect foodborne illnesses.


The following businesses are required to obtain a permit, fill out a plan review packet (if applicable) and pay required fee prior to opening:

  • Food Establishments - includes but not limited to restaurants, tavern, delis, bakeries, catering, mobile units, seasonal, coffee shops etc.
  • Retail Food Establishments - includes but not limited to grocery stores, convenience stores, meat markets, specialty food stores etc.
  • Food Service - includes but not limited to schools, daycares, hospitals, nursing homes, senior care facilities, jails, etc.


  • Temporary Food Establishments - means food service establishment that operates at a fixed location for a period of time of not more than 14 consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration. Temporary Food Permit needed, Food Plan Review not required.

  • Farmers Market Vendors - Operators of stands at markets who would like to sell food other than fresh, uncut, unprocessed produce must obtain a permit. Farmers Market Permit needed, Food Plan Review not required.
  • Cottage Food Vendors - Operators can make certain non-potentially hazardous baked goods, jellies, jams, preserves, fruit butters, dried herbs & dried tea blends from their home kitchens and sell the items at farmers markets only.  Cottage Food Registration is needed, Food Plan Review not required.
Inspections for all of these food services are performed following the guidelines of Illinois State Rules and Regulations and Jo Daviess County Ordinance. Permit fees are based on the type of facility and level of complexity for food preparation, to be determined by JDCHD staff.  Permits are valid from December 1 – November 30 each year and an annual renewal fee is due before the end of November.


Change of Ownership - If a new owner takes possession of an existing food business, a new permit is required prior to opening.  The completion of a Food Plan Review will be determined by JDCHD staff.  A Change of Ownership fee is required.

Training for Food Service Staff

Certified Food Protection Manager Certificate - All food service establishments shall be under the operational supervision of a certified food protection manager.
  • Special Circumstances - New food service establishments shall have a certified food service sanitation manager from the initial day of operation or shall provide documentation of enrollment in an approved course to be completed within three months.

  • Food service establishments that are not in compliance because of employee turnover or other loss of certified personnel shall have three months from date of loss of certified personnel to comply.
Food Handler Certification - The Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act requires all food handlers in restaurants and non-restaurants to become certified in basic sanitation practices.
  • A 'food handler', as defined by the act, is an individual working with unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils, or food-contact surfaces.
  • The act defines a 'restaurant' as any business that is primarily engaged in the sale of ready-to-eat food for immediate consumption.
  • 'Primarily engaged' is defined as having sales of ready-to-eat food for immediate consumption comprised of at least 51% of the total sales, excluding the sale of liquor.
  • The food handler requirement for restaurants begins on July 1, 2014 (limited to education and notification of requirements from July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2014) and the non-restaurant requirement begins on July 1, 2016.  This certification needs to be renewed every three years.
  • Non-restaurant food handler certificates do not expire except for food handlers who change employers or are employed in nursing homes, licensed day care homes and facilities, hospitals, schools, and long-term care facilities. These food handlers must renew their training every three years.

Food Safety Education

The following are a list of resources that can be used to promote food safety and educate employees and the public on proper food handling:

Smoke-free Illinois

Thermometer Calibration & Placement

Guidelines for the Safe Handling of Beverages, Ice & Dispensers

Spring Clean Your Way to a Safer Kitchen

HACCP (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points)

HACCP is a food safety control program, which includes a site specific step by step description of how food is received, stored, prepared, and served. Following a HACCP plan minimizes the risk of food borne illness or food contamination. More information on developing a HACCP plan can be found at the link below for the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Illinois Department of Public Health HACCP

Cleaning & Sanitizing Food Contact Surfaces

Controlling Time & Temperature During Preparation

Cooking Potentially Hazardous Foods

Cooling Potentially Hazardous Foods

Date Marking Ready-to-eat Potentially Hazardous Foods

Employee Practices & Designated Break Areas

Holding Hot & Cold Potentially Hazardous Foods

Maintaining Food Thermometers with Accurate Thermometers

Operating Guidelines During Boil Orders

Personal Hygiene

Preventing Contamination at Food Bars

Preventing Cross-Contamination During Preparation & Storage

Receiving Deliveries

Refrigeration Temperatures

Reheating Potentially Hazardous Foods

Serving Food

Storing & Using Poisonous or Toxic Chemicals

Thawing Procedures

Transporting Food for Off-Site Service

Using Suitable Utensils When Handling Ready-to-Eat Food

Using Time Alone as a Public Health Control to Limit Bacteria Growth

Washing Fruits & Vegetables

Washing Hands

Wiping Cloths & Sponges

Cooking & Reheating Temperature Log

Cooling Temperature Log

Refrigeration Log

Thermometer Calibration Log

Food Safety Checklist

Food Safety During Weather Emergencies/Disruption of Service

Special precautions are necessary for food protection when emergencies such as fire, flood, power outages, boil orders or similar events occur that might result in the contamination of food, or that might prevent potentially hazardous food from being held at required temperatures, the person in charge shall immediately contact the JDCHD. Upon receiving notice of this occurrence, the JDCHD staff shall take whatever action that it deems necessary to protect the public health.

Power Outage Fact Sheet

Preparing for a Weather Emergency Fact Sheet

Operating Guidelines for Food Service Establishment in the Event of a Boil Order


Wash Before You Work

Wash, Rinse, & Sanitize

Wear Gloves the Right Way

CDC "Stomach Bug" Clean-up and Disinfection

Protect People Everywhere - Proper Handwashing

Keep Hot Foods Hot

Proper Cooling of Foods