The goal of the Village of Hoffman Estates’ Food Protection Program is to ensure that each licensed establishment provides safe food to its customers. In order to achieve this, the Environmental Health Officer performs inspections and educates the owner and employees on proper food handling and sanitation.
The intent of this webpage is to provide an overview of what the processes are in the Food Protection Program.
What is a licensed establishment?
Any person, business or entity wishing to sell food to the public in Hoffman Estates, must be approved by the Environmental Health Officer in order to operate. Examples of Licensed Establishments include, but are not limited to:
How often are the establishments inspected?
Each establishment is categorized by risk. Risk is determined by the layout of the establishment, the menu, and the way that the establishment prepares food. Restaurants are categorized as Category 1, Category 2, and Category 3.
Category 1: These facilities have extensive menus and complex food processes that include preparing (washing, cutting), cooking, cooling, and reheating of food. These facilities are inspected at least three times a year.
Category 2: These facilities are not as complex as Category 1, typically food is delivered frozen or refrigerated, then stored at the establishment. Food is made per order and served or delivered to the customer. Food is not cooled or reheated at these facilities. Category 2 facilities are inspected at least two times a year.
Category 3: These facilities are the least complex, and do not handle or cook food. A typical Category 3 establishment is a gas station that has packaged food and sells milk. Category 3 facilities are inspected at least once a year.
Are inspections scheduled?
Routine and complaint inspections are not scheduled. When the inspector finds violations needing a follow-up, the establishment is informed that a follow-up will be performed within a specified time (example within 14 days).
Who is a Food Handler and what do they need to know?
The Illinois Department of Public Health has provided a Guide for Food Handler Training. The Frequently Asked Questions section can be accessed here (PDF).
What conditions would result in a restaurant being closed immediately?
There are situations when a food establishment is closed immediately including:
Loss of Electricity
No Water or no Hot Water
A Licensed Environmental Health Practitioner assesses each establishment at the time of inspection. If the food handling practices of the restaurant greatly increase the risk of a food-borne illness, the restaurant is closed immediately.
What happens after a restaurant has been closed?
When a restaurant is closed, prior to reopening, it must be inspected by the Environmental Health Officer. In some cases (i.e., fires, water shutoff, loss of electricity) other departments may need to inspect and approve as well.
May I ask for a restaurant or grocery store to be inspected? How do I make this request?
Although every food establishment is inspected on a regular basis, patrons are encouraged to call the Environmental Health Officer with any questions about a food operation. If, during a visit to an establishment a patron observes practices that are unsanitary they can file a complaint with the Officer. Those who wish to file a complaint are kept anonymous.
What do I do if I get sick from eating at a restaurant or from food I bought at a store?
First and foremost, if your symptoms are severe or do not improve, consult your physician or go to the hospital.
If you become ill after eating it is important to report it to the Environmental Health Officer at 847-781-2639 as soon as possible. You will be asked several questions about your illness (symptoms, what time you ate, what time you became sick, etc).
During the interview, you will also be asked for some essential personal information that will help during the investigation. In addition, it is important that you give your name and phone number in case there are additional questions or more people are sick. You may be the only one that became ill in your party, but others who ate at the establishment while you were there may have become ill as well.
Within 48 hours of the reported illness, a Licensed Environmental Health Practitioner will perform an on-site inspection of the establishment. This inspection is somewhat different from our routine inspections. When a food-borne illness is investigated, the inspector will follow the suspected foods (foods that are believed to have caused the illness) from delivery at the establishment to your plate.
For the Food Program Glossary and a better understanding on what we look for, click on the link.