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Food and lodging safety program

Since the mid-1960s, the City of Bloomington has maintained a food safety program to protect public health, to prevent foodborne illness and meet consumer expectations for cleanliness.  Environmental Health Specialists routinely inspect restaurants and other food facilities.  Each inspector is certified by the State of Minnesota as a Registered Environmental Health Specialist / Sanitarian.

New Food Code

The Food Code is changing! After 20 years, Minnesota is getting an updated Food Code! The new Code goes into effect January 1st, 2019.

Rough Draft of new Food Code

PDF icon Top 20 Changes you should be aware of.  

Foodborne illness reporting and investigation

If you become ill after eating at an establishment in Bloomington or Richfield, please contact us. Your report may help us discover an outbreak of foodborne illness and prevent the spread of illness to others.

Foodborne illnesses can be reported in two ways:

  • Contact the Environmental Health Division at (952) 563-8934 or envhealth@BloomingtonMN.gov. Our business hours are 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Contact the Minnesota Department of Health at 1-877-FOOD-ILL (1-877-366-3455) or health.foodill@state.mn.us. Their business hours are 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If someone is not available to take your call you may leave a voice message with your name and telephone number. Someone will return your call the next business day.

Environmental Health staff will interview you using a standard questionnaire that focuses on illness history and food consumption. Because foodborne illness may occur hours to days after eating contaminated food, you will be asked to recall what you consumed up to 4 days before onset of illness. Interview responses are confidential; however, questionnaires are sent to the Minnesota Department of Health in an effort to detect outbreaks beyond the borders of Bloomington or Richfield. Environmental Health staff also contact or inspect the suspected food establishments and focus on safe food handling practices and policies as part of the foodborne illness complaint response.

Additional Information

Foodborne Illness (MN Department of Health).

Temporary Food Events

With limited exceptions, if you will be serving food at an event that is open to the public you need a temporary food license.  Examples include selling concessions at a sporting event or craft fair, handing out snacks at a fundraising event, or having a restaurant cater an event not held at the restaurant that is open to the public. Please contact the Environmental Health Division if you have questions.

The Temporary Food License Requirements Information Sheet gives an overview of requirements for serving food at special events.

The Temporary Food License Application must be filled out and submitted with the required license fee as listed on the application, 10 business days before the event.  The application can be mailed, emailed or faxed to the Environmental Health Division or dropped off in person at the Licensing Counter, first floor of Civic Plaza Monday-Fridays, 8 AM to 4:30 PM.

Focus of an inspection

Factors that most often contribute to foodborne illness outbreaks, according to the the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • Food from unsafe sources
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Inadequate cooking
  • Improper holding temperatures
  • Contaminated equipment

If not controlled, risk factors are more likely than other aspects of food safety to contribute to food contamination and foodborne illness. Food safety is largely based on daily control of foodborne illness risk factors. Therefore, routine inspections are directed by the establishment menu and focus on control of risk factors and additional interventions to foodborne illness. These additional interventions include ensuring that the licensee:

  • Employs at least one full-time certified food manager – someone who has passed a food safety exam written by an approved testing company
  • Designates knowledgeable employees who monitor for safe food handling practices and properly functioning equipment, and make corrections as necessary
  • Follows a policy of keeping ill employees from handling food and requires employees to report illness symptoms
  • Trains employees on safe food handling practices

Types of establishments

Food establishments are grouped into three categories based on the kind of food offered and how it is prepared or handled prior to service. The types of establishments are:

  • High Risk - A facility that offers raw animal foods, or where food is cooked, cooled, reheated or prepared a day or more in advance of service.  These establishments have the most potential for the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors due to complex food handling practices.
  • Medium Risk - A facility where food has already been cooked (precooked), and preparation or handling prior to service is limited.  These establishments have less potential for the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors due to simplified food handling practices.
  • Low Risk - A facility that offers only prepackaged foods like candy, chips, sandwiches and soda that require no preparation or handling prior to service.  The potential for foodborne illness risk factors to occur is lowest due to limited food handling practices.

Frequency of inspections

On average, inspectors conduct two unannounced routine inspections per year in restaurants and other high risk establishments with follow-up inspections on items not in compliance.  Through uniform inspections, training and other activities, inspectors work with food employees and managers at every food establishment to ensure food safety with the common goal of preventing foodborne illness.  Since January 2005, routine inspections have been based on program standards recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Department of Health.

Food Collaborative

This is a collaborative partnership between the City's Environmental Health Staff and local food service industry representatives. The group meets quarterly and typically involves an educational presentation on relevant topics and openly discussing issues that impact the establishments. Certified food managers can also obtain continuing education credits for attending.

Food Safety Awards

Since 2001, the Bloomington Advisory Board of Health has presented awards for food safety in conjunction with the Bloomington Convention and Visitor Bureau’s Diamond Service Awards. Nominees are selected by environmental health specialists based on inspection results.  There are five award categories, which are:

  • Full Service Hotel
  • Large Restaurant
  • Limited Service/Pizza Carryout
  • Fast Food/Cafeteria Service
  • Grocery

Industry volunteers interview the nominees and score them based on a set of criteria.  The interviewer scores and comments are submitted to the Advisory Board of Health, which chooses the finalist.

Overall Food Safety Award

Chosen from the category finalists

  • 2017 Rainforest Cafe
  • 2016 Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America
  • 2015 Hilton Minneapolis Bloomington
  • 2014 Radisson Blu
  • 2013 Bubba Gump Shrimp Company

Past Finalists

Large Restaurant

  • 2017 Rainforest Cafe
  • 2016 American Girl Bistro
  • 2015 Outback Steakhouse
  • 2014 American Girl Bistro
  • 2013 Bubba Gump Shrimp Company

Full Service Hotel

  • 2017 Radisson Blu
  • 2016 Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Mall of America
  • 2015 Hilton Minneapolis Bloomington
  • 2014 Radisson Blu
  • 2013 Sheraton Bloomington Hotel

Fast Food/Cafeteria

  • 2017 Chick-fil-A
  • 2016 Taco Bell
  • 2015 Culver's
  • 2014 Wendy's - W. 80th St.
  • 2013 White Castle

Limited Service/ Pizza Carry Out

  • 2017 Barnes & Noble
  • 2016 Pizza Hut
  • 2015 Country Inn & Suites at MOA
  • 2014 Domino's
  • 2013 Fairfield Inn & Suites Minneapolis Bloomington

Grocery

  • 2017 Cub Foods Lyndale Avenue
  • 2016 Sam's Club
  • 2015 Sam's Club
  • 2014 Cub Foods France Avenue
  • 2013 Cub Foods Lyndale Avenue

For Licensed Establishments

Certified Food Manager Requirements

If you hold a Type I, II, or III license, one full-time State certified food manager is required. Consult the Minnesota Department of Health website for training and exams.

Certified Food Manager application and certificate verification

Helpful Documents
New Food Code

The Food Code is changing! After 20 years, Minnesota is getting an updated Food Code! The new Code goes into effect January 1st, 2019.

Rough Draft of new Food Code

PDF icon Top 20 Changes you should be aware of.  

Safe Food Temperatures

Serving safe food to the public is the responsibility of all employees.  Taking temperatures of food helps to make sure equipment is working properly and bacteria are not multiplying.

PDF icon Daily Temperature Check

PDF icon Cooler Log

File Line Check Log

PDF icon Cooling Log

Health and Hygiene

Ill employees can spread foodborne illness to customers.  Managers must write down when employees call in sick or are sent home ill.    

PDF icon Employee Illness Log

Signs must be posted at each handwashing sink to remind employees to wash their hands.  Here are several examples.

PDF icon Handwashing Sign

PDF icon When to Wash Hands Info

PDF icon Did You Wash Your Hands Poster

You must have a plan on how to clean up vomiting and diarrhea in your facility.  Here is some information from Olmsted County. 

PDF icon Vomit/Diarrhea Clean Up Procedures

PDF icon Cleaning Poster

Allergens

There are 8 food allergens that account for the majority of allergic reaction.

  • Treenuts
  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Wheat
  • Eggs
  • Milk

Remember them with this sentence:

Today Serve Food-allergic People With Extra Safety Measures

Treenuts Soy Fish Peanuts Wheat Eggs Shellfish Milk

According to the FDA, Symptoms of food allergies typically appear from within a few minutes to 2 hours after a person has eaten the food to which he or she is allergic.

Allergic reactions can include:
  • Hives
  • Flushed skin or rash
  • Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth
  • Face, tongue, or lip swelling
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Dizziness and/or lightheadedness
  • Swelling of the throat and vocal cords
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

See the FDA’s website for more information.  

Construction or Remodeling

New construction or remodeling of existing food or lodging facilities requires a permit and review of plans.

For more information consult the following pdfs:

Note:  If you are building or remodeling in the City of Richfield, please use the City of Richfield "Environmental Health Plan Review" application found on their website:

New Recycling Policies