Environmental Health Division
Hamilton County residents can take for granted the safety of everyday activities such as visiting a public pool or playground or eating dinner out because of the watchful eye and instruction of Hamilton County Public Health Environmental Health Specialists. Environmental Health Specialists build relationships with residents and business owners and assure regulatory compliance through education, risk assessment, communication, prevention and, when necessary, enforcement.
Hoarding and Housing Resources
The mission of the Hamilton County Hoarding Collaborative is to provide a fair and standardized approach to working with people in hoarding situations, while providing resources, education, and guidance to the community.
Information and education about our services, training opportunities, and common Environmental Health concerns.
Codes and Regulations
Uniform Food Safety Code – Chapter 3717-1 – Ohio Administrative Code | Ohio Laws
Public Swimming Pools and Spas – Chapter 3701-31 – Ohio Administrative Code | Ohio Laws
Parks/ Camps – Chapter 3701-26 – Ohio Administrative Code | Ohio Laws
Resident Camps – Chapter 3701-25 – Ohio Administrative Code | Ohio Laws
Smoke Free Workplace Program – Chapter 3701-52 – Ohio Administrative Code | Ohio Laws
Food Safety Training
Food Safety Training (Download Our Training Flyer)
Hamilton County Public Health is pleased to offer two levels of food safety training for food service and retail food operators. The trainings are available for anyone who wishes to learn proper food safety. 2023 Food Training Application
Person In Charge Food Certification Course: The Person In Charge course, which is about 2.5 hours in length, is designed to cover the basic aspects of food safety including food sources, personal hygiene, and proper cooking and holding temperatures for food. The Person in Charge course is required for all new operations. All food service operations and retail food establishments, that opened after March 1, 2010, must have at least one person per shift that has attended the Person in Charge course or equivalent.
Manager Food Certification Course: The Manager course is more extensive and encompasses two full days of training. The course offers food protection manager certification covering, in detail, microbiological concepts, HACCP, employee health, among other topics. All course materials are covered by registration costs.
Please contact the Division of Environmental Health at 513-946-7800 if you have any questions regarding these opportunities. We are pleased to continue to serve the public through education of food workers throughout Hamilton County.
Manager ServSafe courses are from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on their scheduled days with the test in the afternoon on the second day of the course.
You may download a flyer with dates and more information for 2022.
|Course||Length of Course||Sample of Topics Covered||Cost|
|Person In Charge Course
(Food Handler Training)
|2.5 hours||Hygiene, cross contamination, proper cooling, cooking and holding of foods||$20|
|16 hours||Food borne illness, microbiology, food sources, pest prevention, HACCP||$175|
(Serv Safe – TEST ONLY)
|2 hours||Test Only Dates||$50|
Rabies and Dog Bites
Staff in Hamilton County Public Health’s Environmental Health Division receive and track information concerning biting mammals and work with the Cincinnati Area Veterinarian Association to establish rabies policies such as the quarantine vet-release program.
Mammal bites should be reported immediately to the Health District by calling the Environmental Health Information Line at (513) 946-7800. Callers may leave a message for Health District staff and can expect a reply within one business day.
Manufactured Home Parks
Hamilton County Public Health’s Environmental Health Division is currently contracted by the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Industrial Compliance to inspect mobile home parks. All mobile home parks are licensed through the Department of Commerce and their website and information can be found: https://www.com.ohio.gov/MH.aspx
To keep the residents of Hamilton County safe from food borne illness outbreaks, Hamilton County Public Health licenses and inspects more than 2,300 food service operators.
Environmental Health Specialists inspect restaurants, grocery stores, schools and other facilities for proper food storage, handling, preparation and serving. Environmental Health Specialists also conduct food safety training for food service employees and investigate potential food borne illness outbreaks within the Health District’s jurisdiction.
To find out about our coveted Clean Kitchen Awards, click here.
Inspection Reports Online
Hamilton County residents are now able to view inspection reports from licensed food service operators and retail food establishments inspected by the Health District (Hamilton County, excluding the cities of Cincinnati, Norwood, and Springdale).
Digital inspection reports not only help Environmental Health Specialists complete their work more efficiently, they also give residents an inside look at what a public health Environmental Health Specialist sees during an inspection. It is important to understand, however, that inspection information provided here shows only the conditions of the facility at the time of the inspection. A single inspection report should not be used to evaluate a food service establishment. Looking at a facility’s inspection results over a period of time gives a more accurate picture of that facility’s commitment to food safety and sanitation.
What information will I find on an inspection report?
Both critical and non-critical violations are shown on inspection reports. The corresponding food code and recommended corrective actions are listed with each violation so residents understand what is required to correct the problem. This information will help residents better understand Ohio’s Uniform Food Safety Code and what is done locally to enforce it.
What are common problems found on an inspection?
Many problems found during an inspection are non-critical, do not pose an immediate public health threat and can be corrected while the Environmental Health Specialist is on site. Non-critical violations, including dirty floors, lack of hair restraints and open waste receptacles, are noted on the inspection report.
Critical violations are more likely than other violations to contribute to food contamination, illness or an environmental health hazard. Examples include food obtained from an unsafe source, inadequate cooking, improper holding, contaminated equipment, and poor personal hygiene. Critical violations may require additional follow up from the Environmental Health Specialist to ensure the problems are corrected properly. Critical violations are noted on the inspection report, along with corrective action steps.
In rare occasions, it may be necessary to close a restaurant or other food service operator due to an imminent health hazard. An imminent health hazard may exist because of an emergency such as a fire, flood, extended interruption of electrical or water service, sewage backup, misuse of poisonous or toxic materials, the onset of an apparent food borne illness outbreak, a gross unsanitary occurrence or condition, or other circumstance that may endanger public health.
Depending on the type of facility, inspections occur unannounced, one to two times per year, not including follow-up inspections. An Environmental Health Specialist may also choose to conduct additional inspections throughout the course of the year if he/she feels the facility needs extra guidance/monitoring.
Environmental Health Specialists inspect restaurants and food establishments for compliance with Ohio’s Uniform Food Safety Code, including proper food storage, handling, preparation and serving. Food Code violations are broken down into two categories: critical and non-critical.
- Critical violations are items that, if in noncompliance, are more likely than other violations to contribute to food contamination, illness or an environmental health hazard. Examples of critical violations include food obtained from an unsafe source, inadequate cooking, improper holding, contaminated equipment, and poor personal hygiene.
- Non-critical violations cover such things as dirty floors, lack of hair restraints, and open waste receptacles.
Health District staff have always practiced education over enforcement. In addition to required inspections, the Health District offers food safety training for licensed food service operators and retail food establishments to ensure that food service staff understand and follow proper food handling procedures.
Nuisances and Complaints
If you encounter a problem or have a concern while visiting a retail food establishment or food service operator, tell the manager and ask that it be corrected. If you are not satisfied with the response, or if you have a suspected food borne illness to report, contact our office immediately at (513) 946-7800 or online by clicking here. All complaints will be investigated.
Please note that the Health District only accepts complaints from facilities located within Hamilton County (excluding the cities of Cincinnati, Norwood and Springdale).
Food Borne Illness Outbreaks
Environmental Health Specialists also investigate potential food borne illness outbreaks within the Health District’s jurisdiction. The goal of investigation is to determine the source of the disease and how it is being spread. In turn, this information allows public health officials to provide the public with precautions and/or effectively eliminate the source of an outbreak. The investigation process includes:
- confirming the diagnosis
- verifying the disease
- locating affected persons and providing them with information about the disease
- looking for potential common modes of transmission among affected persons
- confirming the original source of the disease
- providing the public with information about the disease, along with prevention measures.