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General Environmental Health

Food Service Establishments

Dinner Table

The Tennessee Division of General Environmental Health is responsible for the inspection of food service establishments.  Environmental specialists work directly with food service operators to achieve safe and sanitary food handling practices through inspections, training and enforcement of the food service rules and regulations. Retail food operations such as convenience and grocery stores are regulated by the Department of Agriculture.

The Division reviews plans required of new food establishments and those planning remodeling ensuring the establishment will meet the minimum construction and installation requirements prior to construction.  Prior approval of plans protects applicants from expensive changes after construction and installation.

Environmental specialists inspect every establishment where food and beverages are prepared and served at least twice a year or more often as deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the Hotel, Food Service Establishment, and Public Swimming Pool Act of 1985*.  Current food permits and the most recent inspection report must be displayed in a prominent location for the public to view.

Employee level training is available free of charge in each county health department every month. Contact your local health department for a schedule of training classes. 

Consumer complaints and reports of suspected foodborne disease outbreaks are promptly and thoroughly investigated in cooperation with county nurses, doctors and epidemiological workers.

Foodborne Illness Complaint Hotline 1-800-293-8228

*Tennessee Code, Title 68, Chapter 14