The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is committed to protecting the public’s health by conducting science-based inspections of all food establishments. CDPH Sanitarians conduct inspections for new businesses, existing businesses and in response to a compliant.
Business License Health Inspections
New food establishments, or a transfer of ownership, that are applying for a business license must pass a health inspection by CDPH before the license will be issued. After an application for a license has been filed with the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, a health inspector from the CDPH will contact the applicant to arrange for an inspection. The applicant can schedule an appointment with the Health representative at the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection at 312.744.5430, 312.74.GOBIZ (744.6249).
During the inspection, the health inspector will assess the types of food that will be prepared and the methods used for preparing and serving the food. This information will be used to assign a ‘risk-level’ – risk 1, 2 or 3 – to the food establishment. This risk level will be used to determine how frequent a food establishment needs to be inspected.
Routine Health Inspections
Once a food establishment is licensed and operating, a health inspector will periodically conduct unannounced inspections. The frequency of these inspections is based on the risk level assigned to the establishment.
In general, risk 1 establishments are inspected twice per year,risk 2 establishments once per year, and risk 3 establishments every other year. If problems are identified, the establishment may face fines or possible closure, depending on the severity of the problems.
Complaint-Based Health Inspections
CDPH receives around 4,000 complaints against food establishments each year. In response, CDPH health inspectors conduct unannounced inspections at the establishment.
During routine inspections, or in response to a complaint a health inspector may issue one or more citations to the food establishment. These citations are based on the following violations:
This category includes such occurrences as:
Critical violations create an immediate health hazard that carry a high-risk of causing food-borne illness. Critical violations must be corrected immediately; if they cannot be corrected immediately, the license will be suspended, and the food establishment must close. Once the violations are corrected, the food establishment operator must sign an affidavit stating the violations have been corrected, and schedule a re-inspection with the health inspector. The inspection must pass in order for the establishment to reopen.
Serious violations include such occurrences as:
Serious violations create a potential health hazard if not corrected in the timeframe specified by the health inspector. If serious violations are identified, an unannounced re-inspection will be conducted by the health inspector at a later date.
Minor violations include such occurrences as:
Minor violations do not pose an immediate threat to the public’s health. A re-inspection is not performed if only minor violations are issued.
A more detailed list of all of the violations is available at the following link:
|Violation Number||Health Standard to Be Met||Violation Type|
|V4||All food shall be protected from contamination and the elements, and so shall all food equipment, containers, utensils, food contact surfaces and devices, and vehicles||Critical|
|V5||No person affected with or carrying any disease in a communicable form or afflicted with boils, infected wounds, sores, acute respiratory infection, or intestinal disorder shall work in any area of a food establishment in any capacity where there is a likelihood of that person contaminating food or food contact surfaces.||Critical|
|V6||All employees who handle food shall wash their hands as often as necessary to maintain a high degree of personal cleanliness and should conform to hygienic practices prescribed by the Board of Health.||Critical|
|V7||Hand washing of all tableware and drinking utensils shall be accomplished by the use of warm water at a temperature of 110°F to 120°F containing an adequate amount of detergent effective to remove grease and solids.||Critical|
|V8||Equipment and utensils should get proper exposure to the sanitizing solution during the rinse cycle. Bactericidal treatment shall consist of exposure of all dish and utensil surfaces to a rinse of clean water at a temperature of not less than 180°F.||Critical|
|V9||All food establishments shall be provided with an adequate supply of hot and cold water under pressure properly connected to the city water supply.||Critical|
|V10||In food establishments, there shall be adequate sewage and waste water disposal facilities that comply with all requirements of the plumbing section of the Municipal Code of Chicago.||Critical|
|V11||Adequate and convenient toilet facilities shall be provided. They should be properly designed, maintained, and accessible to employees at all times.||Critical|
|V12||Adequate and convenient hand washing facilities shall be provided for all employees.||Critical|
|V13||All necessary control measure shall be used to effectively minimize or eliminate the presence of rodents, roaches, and other vermin/insect infestations.||Critical|
|V14||A separate and distinct offense shall be deemed to have been committed for each Serious violation that is not corrected upon re-inspection by the health authority.||Critical|
|Violation Short Description||Violation Type|
|V15||Food once served to a consumer shall not be re-served, with the exception of packaged food remaining in its original, unopened package.||Serious|
|V16||All food should be properly protected from contamination during storage, preparation, display, service, and transportation.||Serious|
|V17||Thawing frozen food for further processing shall be accomplished by storage in a refrigerator at 40°F or less, or by other approved method.||Serious|
|V18||All necessary control measures shall be used to effectively minimize or eliminate the presence of rodents, roaches, and other vermin and insects on the premises of all food establishments, in food-transporting vehicles, and in vending machines.||Serious|
|V19||The area outside of the establishment used for the storage of garbage shall be clean at all times and shall not constitute a nuisance.||Serious|
|V20||All garbage and rubbish containing food wastes shall, prior to disposal, be stored in metal containers with tight fitting lids and shall be kept covered except when opened for the disposal or removal of garbage.||Serious|
|V21||A certified food service manager must be present in all establishments at which potentially hazardous food is prepared or served.||Serious|
|V22||All dishwashing machines shall maintain proper water pressure and must be provided with suitable thermometers, chemical test kits, and gauge cocks.||Serious|
|V23||Dishes and other utensils shall be rinsed or scraped to remove gross food particles and other soil before washing.||Serious|
|V24||All dishwashing machines must be of a type that complies with all requirements of the plumbing section of the Municipal Code of Chicago and Rules and Regulation of the Board of Health||Serious|
|V25||Only such poisonous and toxic materials as are required to maintain sanitary conditions may be used in food establishments and they shall not be used in any hazardous manner.||Serious|
|V26||When toilet and lavatory facilities are provided for the patrons of food establishments, such facilities shall be adequate in number, convenient, accessible, properly designed, and installed according to the municipal code.||Serious|
|V27||In all food establishments, toilet facilities shall be kept clean and in good repair and shall include an adequate supply of hot and cold or tempered water, soap, and approved sanitary towels or other approved hand-drying devices.||Serious|
|V28||One copy of the Food Inspection Report Summary must be displayed and visible to all customers.||Serious|
|V29||A separate and distinct offense shall be deemed to have been committed for each Minor violation that is not corrected upon re-inspection by the health authority.||Serious|
|Violation Number||Violation Short Description||Violation Type|
|V31||Containers and utensils shall be inverted, covered, or otherwise protected from contamination until used. All single-service drinking straws and containers shall be discarded immediately after use.||Minor|
|V32||All food and non-food contact equipment and utensils shall be smooth, easily cleanable, and durable, and shall be in good repair.||Minor|
|V34||The floors shall be constructed per code, be smooth and easily cleaned, and be kept clean and in good repair.||Minor|
|V39||Soiled and clean linens, coats, and aprons shall be properly stored.||Minor|
|V40||All food establishments that display, prepare, or store potentially hazardous foods shall have calibrated metal stem thermometers, provided and conspicuous, for refrigerated and hot food units.||Minor|
|V43||Between uses and during storage ice dispensing utensils and ice receptacles shall be stored in a way that protects them from contamination.||Minor|
|V44||The traffic of unnecessary persons through the food preparation and the utensil washing areas is prohibited.||Minor|
|No Smoking Regulations|
Upon completion of the inspection, the health inspector will assign one of the following results:
Pass: No critical or serious violations were found.
Pass with Conditions: Serious or critical violations were found, but were corrected during the inspection.
Fail: Serious or critical violations were found, but were not corrected during the inspection. If critical violations were found that were not corrected during the inspection, the health inspector will suspend the license, and the establishment must close.
A Written Summary Report is provided by the health inspector. This report must be posted prominently and in plain view of customers.