Public complaint investigations are also done as needed at the same facilities. Complaints (foodborne illness, food contamination, improper employee handwashing, etc.) can be made by calling your local area office, or by submitting an online complaint.
Award of Recognition
The “Award of Recognition” program was developed by the County of Riverside, Department of Environmental Health, in an effort to recognize those food establishments which have consistently maintained exceptionally high sanitary, operational, and structural standards assuring the maximum protection of the public’s health and safety. For additional information on the Award of Recognition or to view Award of Recognition Recipients view our page.
Cottage Food Operation
Effective January 1, 2013, the Cottage Food Bill, AB1616, allows certain low-risk food products, to be prepared and packaged in private home kitchens in California. The Cottage Food Bill, also known as the California Homemade Food Act, was passed in an effort to help Californians recover from the slow economy, promote small scale businesses and create jobs. This type of operation is called a Cottage Food Operation (CFO).
Only low-risk food products that are non potentially hazardous are allowed for a CFO. These types of products do not require refrigeration and are considered safe from rapid bacterial growth that can cause sickness.
Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operation
Effective January 1, 2019, Assembly Bill AB 626 allows a private resident to operate a food facility from their home. This type of facility is called a Microenterprise Home Kitchen (MHKO). Starting June 6, 2019, Riverside County Department of Environmental Health will begin accepting permit applications for MHKOs.
In the United States 40% of food produced goes uneaten- that is 62.5 million tons of wasted food every year. In California, 5.5 million tons of food is wasted every year and 25% of landfill material is food waste. In 2015 there were 42.2 million people, including 13.1 million children (over 134,000 children in Riverside County alone) who were "food insecure", meaning they did not have enough food to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. While reducing hunger in Riverside County will require addressing the root causes of poverty, donations of wholesome, fresh food can be an important strategy for addressing the immediate needs of thousands of Riverside County residents.
Food Handler Cards
The primary goal of the Food Handler's Certification Program, first adopted in 1978, is to prevent foodborne illness through education. The program applies to anyone whose job includes the handling of food, beverages or utensils.
All employees must have a current Food Handler Certificate within ONE WEEK of beginning employment at a food facility. For additional information on the program and how to obtain your Food Handler Card, visit our page.
Mobile Food Facilities are inspected to ensure safe food handling practices, sanitation, and compliance with California Health and Safety Code and Riverside County Ordinances, just like fixed food facilities. Construction inspections, routine inspections, and complaint investigations, including foodborne illness complaints, are conducted.
DES is responsible for all plan check and field inspections for all new food facility construction or remodeling of existing facilities. We provide consultation as part of the food facility plan check process for remodeling and/or new construction. Go to our guidance page for a complete listing of guidelines, applications and other materials available for download.
The permanent food facilities that handle open foods receive a grade at the end of an inspection. Each violation has a point value that is deducted from 100 possible points. Grades are given on the following scale of 100-90 points (A), 89-80 points (B), 79-Below (C). Grades of B and C, also known as “Downgrades,” are failed inspections, meaning that a facility did not meet minimum health standards at the time of the inspection. Click here for a listing of recently downgraded facilities.
For a list of the current grades of any open facility within Riverside County click on our grading page
Temporary food facilities are food facilities that are set up at a fixed location for a maximum of 25 days over a 90 day period. The events must be a sanctioned community event, of a civic, political, public or educational nature. Examples of community events are state and county fairs, city festivals, circuses and other public gathering events that are approved by the Environmental Health Department.
Permits are required from your local Environmental Health Office to operate a temporary food facility and will be inspected on the day of the event, and throughout the event as needed, to check compliance with all applicable state and local requirements.