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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who must be certified in food safety?

    All restaurants, grocery stores, convenience markets, delis, 'hot trucks', refreshment stands, and commissaries that prepare or serve unpackaged food must have an owner or an employee who has passed one of the five recognized tests in food safety.

  • What types of food facilities do not need to employ a person certified in food safety?

    Mobile Food Facilities (e.g., hot dog carts), temporary food booths, farmers' markets, produce stands, and any food facility that only handles packaged food are not required to have a certified food protection manager on staff.

  • Am I required to have a certified employee before I open my business?

    The law allows you 60 days to meet the certification requirement when you start a business, change ownership, or no longer have a certified employee. A list of Accredited Food Safety Certification Exams is available at the health department or may be received by mail by calling (562)570-4132.

  • If I am opening a food facility (restaurant, market, lunch truck, etc.), do I need Health Department approval before I can open to the public?

    Yes. If the food facility is a new facility or is re-opening after being closed for more than 30 days, Health Department approval is required before opening to the public. If the food facility is in continuous operation, it may continue to operate during the licensing process.

  • If I am building or remodeling a food facility, do I need to submit plans to the Health Department?

    Yes. All new or remodeled food facilities must have plans approved by the Health Department before submitting plans to the Development Services Department. Health Department approval must be granted before the start of construction. A Plan Construction Guide is available at the Health Department, or one may be received through mail by calling (562) 570-4132.

  • Am I required to have a professional firm draw up the plans?

    No. However, depending on the complexity of your project, the involvement of a professional design firm may assist in timely approval of your project. Most experienced design firms are aware of State health requirements and local building codes. Professional knowledge of efficient space planning, exhaust and makeup air requirements, plumbing and electrical standards, custom equipment design, floor, wall and ceilings finishes, and equipment specifications may be required for plan approval.

  • Are there other agencies involved in the plan check process?

    Yes. For that reason, three sets of plans are required when they are submitted. After the plans have been approved and stamped, Environmental Health will keep one set on file for three years and two of the sets will be returned to you. The two sets are to be submitted to the Development Services Department. The Development Services Department will also stamp the plans upon approval, keeping one set for their files. The remaining set is returned to you with conditions and approvals from both departments to be used as the site copy.

  • Can I sell food I make at home?

    No. All food sold or given away to the public must be prepared and stored at a commercial food establishment.

  • Does the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services assign grades to Long Beach food facilities?

    Grades are not assigned or posted in the City of Long Beach. Instead, a summary of the inspection is posted in a conspicuous place, visible to the public and the patrons. This posting is known as the Inspection Summary Report.

  • Once violation(s) have been corrected, is the Inspection Summary Report taken down?

    No. A notation is made on the posting indicating that all corrective action has been completed.
    The Inspection Summary Report remains posted until the next routine inspection.

  • How does the general public know which specific violations were found during a routine inspection?

    The full inspection report is available to the public for review at the food facility. The report is also available at the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Environmental Health.

  • What phone number should I call if I have a complaint regarding a food facility?

    Call (562) 570-4132. An inspector will respond to the complaint within one to five working days, depending on the nature of the complaint. Inspectors can be paged in the event of an emergency.