Food Protection Program
Inspectors, licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, conduct inspections of retail food establishments at least once a year. Inspections concentrate on the prevention of food-borne illness and include the evaluation of food sources, food preparation practices, storage, serving, dishwashing, sanitation, and the physical layout of the establishment. Food establishments must obtain a food handlers license (see 2021 Application for Food Establishment License [PDF]) and are held responsible to protect the foods that you eat. Evaluation postings are based on critical violations in the maintenance of food temperatures, general sanitation, handwashing practices and the propensity for cross-contamination.
At the end of each inspection, the inspector reviews all of the violations and makes an evaluation. Findings are reviewed with the business operator and 1 of 3 postings is left at the establishment for the owner to display. "Satisfactory" indicates that the establishment is on substantial compliance with state and local regulations and that workers are aware generally of food safety principles. "Conditional Satisfactory" indicates that 1 or more violations are serious in nature and must be corrected within a reasonable time frame. The establishment will be re-inspected to ascertain compliance. An "Unsatisfactory" posting indicates that there are gross unsanitary or unsafe conditions that pose an imminent health hazard. If an establishment receives an unsatisfactory rating, the health department may request and/or force the business operator to close the establishment until conditions are adequately improved.
The Health Department investigates every complaint that is received about a licensed food establishment. Anonymous calls are not accepted; however, the name of the complainant is withheld, as allowed by law. Written inspection reports for each incident are kept on file for a minimum of 3 years.
Please be aware that we rely often on consumer reports to determine public health threats and possible food-borne outbreaks. If you have a concern about a food establishment in, please call 732-294-2060.
Fairs & Temporary Vendors
Numerous community activities offer a wide variety of foods to the public throughout the year. For every activity, each vendor must apply for a license, provide a potable water supply, demonstrate clean sanitary practices, practice proper food handling and storage techniques, and have a working knowledge of required food temperatures. If you visit a seasonal event with food vendors, check to make sure that the vendor has been licensed and inspected by the Health Department. See the Temporary Food License Procedures and Application (PDF).
Approved Food Protection Certification Courses
See a list of Approved Food Protection Certification Courses (PDF).