Food Safety When Eating Out

Hamilton County Public Health wants to ensure that eating out is a safe and enjoyable experience for your entire family. Food Advocacy Training Programs, restaurant inspections and complaint investigations help us achieve that goal. Inspection activities provide a snapshot in time of the operating of a restaurant, but as with any snapshot, only conditions at that very moment are recorded and they are always subject to change.

View restaurant inspection reports online here.

While most restaurants value your patronage and work hard to provide quality food and service, some may fall short of the task. The following guidelines can be used to evaluate restaurants when dining out. They are simple to follow and in many instances may be items you already look for when choosing a restaurant. If you encountered a problem tell the manager and ask that it be corrected. If you are not satisfied with the response, or if you have a foodborne illness to report, call our office immediately at 946-7847.


What to Check for:

Facility sanitation

  • Insect free
  • Clean china and utensils
  • Clean floors, tables, booths, walls & window sills


Food temperature

  • Cold foods are cold
  • Hot foods are hot
  • Foods not lukewarm
  • Taste and appearance of food is appropriate
  • If not the case, send back to the kitchen


Server etiquette

  • Personal appearance
  • Proper grooming; clean hair, hands and nails
  • Clean clothing


Serving procedures

  • Uses ice scoop for ice transfer
  • Washes hands after busing tables and before serving food
  • Covers mouth/nose when coughing/sneezing; followed by hand washing


Appropriate handling of dishes/utensils

  • Carries utensils by handles
  • Keeps fingers out of glasses



Call (513) 946-7800.


Download a printable version of this fact sheet here.


250 William Howard Taft Road
2nd Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45219
Phone 513.946.7800 Fax 513.946.7890