Food Protection

The licensed food service operations with the Bristol Burlington Health District include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • catering operations
  • convenience stores
  • day care facilities
  • delicatessens
  • elderly nutrition centers
  • health care institutions
  • itinerant vendors
  • restaurants
  • coffee shops
  • nursing homes
  • private clubs
  • religious institutions
  • schools
  • soup kitchens

The above food service operations are then classified into categories which determine the inspection schedule for each facility. The classification is determined by thorough review of the food being prepared and served for public consumption.

  • Class I: Commercially prepackaged foods and/or hot or cold beverages (inspected once yearly)
  • Class II: Cold ready to eat commercially processed food and/or hot or cold beverages (inspected twice yearly)
  • Class III: Preparation of hot foods, which are consumed within 4 hours of preparation (inspected three times yearly)
  • Class IV: Preparation of hot food which are held for more than 4 hours prior to service (inspected four times yearly)

Inspectors enforce the Public Health Code of the State of Connecticut Section 19-13-B42. You may also find the Compliance Guide helpful in understanding food regulations.

Related sites for more information:

Food Licenses

No person may operate a food establishment within the jurisdiction of the BBHD until he/she is in compliance with all applicable requirements and has been issued a valid food license by the BBHD. A plan review is required for all new food service establishments, and may be required when an existing food service establishment changes ownership.

Temporary Food Service Events

A “Temporary Food Service Event” is defined as a food service establishment that operates at a fixed location for a temporary period of time, including one day events and not to exceed 14 consecutive days. Temporary food service includes but is not limited to, the following: fairs, carnivals, public exhibitions, festivals, religious institution events and school functions.

Licensing Procedures

Every operation serving food at a temporary event must obtain a Temporary Food Service License from the Bristol Burlington Health District. To obtain a license the designated food operator shall:

  • Contact the BBHD for the necessary application with registration form and information packet.
  • Complete the application and provide all the information that has been requested.
  • Submit the application and licensing fee (if applicable) to the BBHD office at least two weeks prior to the date of the event. An inspection of the food operation will be made on the day of the event.

Food Establishment Plan Review Process

If a plan review is required prior to the issuance of a Food Service License, the following must be submitted:

  • A floor plan of the proposed facility drawn to scale that includes the location of all equipment, fixtures, food storage areas and employee restrooms.
  • A manufacturer list of equipment, floors and wall materials.
  • A proposed menu of the food items you intend to serve must be submitted along with your plans.

All plan submissions must be accompanied by a completed plan review application and the appropriate fee. The licensing application and fee will be collected prior to licensing the establishment. All required information must be submitted and approved prior to the start of any construction. Once construction begins, it must proceed according to the approved plan. Any changes must be approved by the BBHD before the work is done. It is also important that you contact the Building Department, Planning and Zoning Department, Fire Marshall, and Department of Public Works because approval may be needed from these departments prior to the issuance of your food license.

Plan Review

Your plans will be reviewed after all necessary information is submitted. You will be contacted for an appointment to discuss the plans and/or to schedule an on-site evaluation. Recommendations and necessary changes to plan will be provided to ensure compliance with the regulations.

Restaurant Plan Review Application

Construction Inspections

During construction, periodic inspections will be made to check on progress and to help alleviate any problems or question that might arise.

Food License Issuance

An inspection must be made by BBHD following completion of construction and prior to opening the establishment. At that time the facility will be inspected for compliance with the original plan submission. All equipment and plumbing must be operational and the establishment cleaned and ready for business. If the inspection is satisfactory, the food license will be issued.

Structural & Physical Requirements

The following list consists of some of the requirements for a food service operation within the BBHD. More detailed information will be provided at the required meeting. If the proposed operation is serving potentially hazardous foods and is classified as a Class III or Class IV a person in a full time supervisory position must be certified as a qualified food operator.

1. Surfaces All floors and walls must be smooth, nonabsorbent, and easily cleanable. Floor material such as commercial linoleum, commercial vinyl tile or quarry tiles (if grouting is sealed) may be used. Wall material such as stainless steel, Marlite/FRP, or sealed concrete blocks are acceptable. In all areas of your establishment other than the patron area, a coved juncture must be provided between the wall and the floor. All floors and wall materials must be listed in the schedule of equipment/material with the plans.

2. Lighting Adequate lighting must be provided in all areas of the establishment to facilitate cleaning. At least 20 foot-candles of light are required on all working surfaces and at least 10 foot-candles on all other surfaces and equipment, in food-preparation, utensil-washing and hand washing areas, and toilet rooms. Fixtures located over food preparation areas and display areas must be shielded.

3. Equipment Only commercial cooking, refrigeration and dishwashing equipment that meets or exceeds National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standard is permitted. A list of all equipment along with specification sheets must be included with the plans.

4. Sinks The following sinks are required in all food service kitchens:

  • A separate hand-washing sink in or adjacent to food preparation, food dispensing and dish washing areas. Larger facilities may be required to install more than one hand-washing sink to allow for easy access for all employees. All designated hand-washing sinks must be supplied with hand-cleansing soap, paper towels, and a trash receptacle at all times.
  • A utility sink or curbed cleaning facility with a floor drain shall be provided and used for the cleaning of mops and for the disposal of mop water or similar liquid wastes.
  • A commercial, automatic sequence dishwashing machine capable of washing and sanitizing all equipment used for food preparation, which includes the largest piece of equipment or a three-compartment sink shall be provided. If a three-compartment sink is used, kitchenware shall be washed in the first compartment, rinsed in the second, sanitized by an approved chemical additive in the third and air dried on a drain board. A sign stating the three-compartment sink procedures is to be posted directly above the area.
  • An additional sink(s) for food preparation tasks will be required for most class 3 and class 4 establishments. The sink(s) shall be of adequate size for the needs of the food operation. The designated food preparation sink can not be utilized for any other task and shall be cleaned and sanitized between use.

5. Storage Provisions for storage space must be available to keep food products safe, organized, and separate from cleaning supplies / chemicals. Dry goods and paper products must be stored in clean ventilated rooms. All stored items must be at least 6 inches off the floor. If storage shelves are 24 inches or wider it is suggested that the bottom shelf be at least 12 inches off the floor to facilitate cleaning.

6. Insect/Rodent Control All doors to the outside must be made self-closing and rodent proof with weather stripping. All other openings must be screened to prevent insects/rodents from entering facility.

7. Toilet Facilities Food service establishments serving food or drink shall be provide adequate, conveniently located toilet facilities with hand-washing sinks for its employees. Durable and legible signs shall be conspicuously posted directing employees to wash their hands before returning to work. Toilet and hand-washing facilities accessible to the public shall be provided in conformance with the sections 19-13-B105 through 19-13-B113 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies. The Local Building Official will determine the number of fixtures provided for public use and the requirements necessary for those individuals who are physically challenged.

8. Smoking Connecticut Law does not allow smoking in restaurants, bars, taverns or cafes.

9. Garbage / Rubbish Disposal You will be required to provide an adequate number of garbage receptacles. Receptacles must be water tight and rodent proof. Arrangements for scheduled pick-up times must be frequent enough to allow receptacle covers to remain closed at all times.

10. Water Supply With few exceptions, food service operations served by a well are classified as Transient Non Community Water Supplies and as such are regulated by the State Department of Health. Sampling requirements and construction standards for these wells must be met before a Food Service License can be obtained from BBHD. Details regarding the Transient Water Supply requirements can be obtained by contacting the Water Supply Section of the State Department of Public Health at 860-509-7333.

11. Grease Traps Grease traps are required for both new and existing food service establishments. The regulatory authority for sanitary sewer grease traps is the Water Pollution Control Authority of the town where the business is located. The Food Service License will not be issued until local grease trap requirements have been met. 12. Home Cooked Foods, Caterers & Mobile Vendors The preparation of food for public consumption must take place in a licensed kitchen. A licensed kitchen may be located in a private home provided the licensed kitchen is completely separate from the residential kitchen and the licensed kitchen meets the requirements of the BBHD.

Food Handler Training Sessions

Please note that Class III and IV establishments are also required to have a Qualified Food Operator (QFO), which is a separate certification from the BBHD Food Handler Certificate. For more information on the QFO requirement, click here (link coming soon).

Qualified Food Operators (QFO)

All Class 3 and 4 Food Service Establishments are required to have a Qualified Food Operator (QFO) on staff. The purpose of a QFO is to insure that the establishment practices safe food handling techniques.

Who can be a QFO?

A QFO is a food operator employed in a full-time, supervisory position who has demonstrated knowledge of safe food handling techniques by passing a state approved certification exam (see below). Full-time position means 30 hours per week or the number of hours per week the food establishment is open for business, whichever is less. Supervisory position means that position of a person who directs and inspects the performance of food service workers.

The QFO’s Responsibilities: The qualified food operator is responsible for operating the food service establishment, itinerant food vending establishment, and catering establishment in compliance with all the provisions of section 19-13-B42, B48, and B49 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies. The qualified food operator of each food service establishment, itinerant food vending establishment, and catering establishment is responsible for ensuring training of food preparation personnel. All such personnel shall receive training that shall include but not necessarily be limited to:

  • instruction in proper food temperature control
  • food protection
  • personal health and cleanliness
  • and sanitation of the facility, equipment, supplies and utensils.

The Qualified Food Operator shall maintain written documentation of a training program and training records of individual employees, and shall make these records available to the local health department upon request.

The Food Establishment Owner’s Responsibilities: Whenever the Qualified Food Operator terminates employment, is terminated or is transferred, the person owning, operating or managing the food service establishment, itinerant food vending establishment, and catering establishment shall notify the local health department in writing. A replacement qualified food operator shall be employed within sixty (60) days from the date of termination or transfer of the qualified food operator.

Where can I take a QFO Certification Exam?

Access the current listing of QFO Certification Exams in CT (PDF)