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Connecting with Illinois Department of Public Health — Questions and Information

Public Health professionals are responsible for protecting millions of consumers, as well as countless visitors in every state, through the prevention and control of disease and injury. These professionals run hundreds of programs touching virtually every aspect and cycle of life.

Today's technology can increase public health professionals' ability to educate a broader spectrum of residents and visitors. This page features information, questions, and data available to all ConnectFood members, as well as a secure location that contains content available only to to Experts.

  • Questions for IDPH professionals, click the “Ask IDPH” button below.
  • Factsheets and data reports available for download look at the bottom of this page.
  • View questions asked by others, scroll down the page for the record of questions and answers.

Featured Questions

where can I take the exam to renew my food service sanitation certificate and how do I register?

redrenx77 asked a question with topics Food Safety, Sanitation,

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

First, you must be eligible to renew your Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification (FSSMC). Eligibility is based on the expiration date of your FSSMC certificate. Any Illiois approved instructor can verify your eligibility and provide you with a renewal exam. You will need to provide them with your FSSMC ID# and expiration date found on your certificate or renewal notice. You can find Illinois approved instructors on our website at:

Also in order to recertify, you will need to pay the $35.00 renewal fee prior to your expiration date. You can do so with the application we send to the address on file three months prior to expiration or with the FSSMC request form found on our website:

My FSSMC expires 07/20/2014 What do I need to do to update it?

COOPoffice asked a question with topics Illinois, Food Safety,

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

If your FSSMC expires on 07/20/2014, you can either take a 5 hour refresher course with any IL approved instructor prior to July 1, 2014 or you can take a full course with exam after July 1, 2014. You can find IL approved instructors on our website:

You will also need to pay the $35.00 renewal fee prior to your expiration date. You should receive a renewal application in the mail three months prior to your expiration, but if you don't receive it, you can find a FSSMC Request Form on our website:

How do I get licensed for Sanitation Manager in Chicago?

Southsider asked a question with topics Food Safety, Sanitation, Illinois, Chicago,

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

You can find Illiois approved instructors offering the food service sanitation manager course and exam on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website at: A map of Illinois will appear and you can click on your county to find courses being offered in your area. Any approved instructor teaching in the Chicago area should be able to help you get both the City of Chicago certificate (issued by Malcolm X College 312-553-5802), as well as the Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification (FSSMC) certificate if you need it.

How would a person become certified in food sanitation in Peoria?

Matthew.Botos asked a question with topics Sanitation

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

Food service sanitation manager courses, taught by Illinois approved instructors, can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website at: A map of Illinois will appear and you can click on your county to find courses offered in your area.

Does ServeSafe Certification cover our managers under the Food Handling Regulation Act?

amy.yokoyama asked a question with topics Food Safety

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

Hi Amy, thanks for calling our office last week so that I could answer all of your questions. The ServSafe manager certification by itself does not meet the Illinois Food Code requirement. The code states that establishments, based on their risk type, shall have an employee with the Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification (FSSMC). In order for the ServSafe student to be eligible for an IL FSSMC, their instructor must be an IL approved instructor or if it was taken out of state, then they can apply for reciprocity with their ServSafe certificate, as long as they meet the requirements.

If someone took an approved Food Handler Course at a corporation e.g. McDonald's, is that Food Handler Course certificate transferable to another restaurant/establishment e.g. a privately owned restaurant?

sjarvis asked a question with topics Food Safety, Illinois,

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

No, in Illinois, an internal food handler training program, which must be registered with the Department, is not transferable to another employer, as stated in the Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act.

How could I sell baked goods I made in my home to grocery stores? What types of permits or standards does my kitchen need to meet?

lilliwoo asked a question with topics Food Safety, Illinois,

Patricia.Welch, Food Program Manager

Home prepared foods are not allowed to be sold at a grocery store or restaurants. Your facility would be subject to inspection by the Illinois Department of Public Health if you are planning on selling wholesale such as to grocery stores. The following list represents the basic requirements for operating a processing and/or warehousing operation.


http://1.NO operation of a food processing establishment shall be conducted in any room used as living or sleeping quarters. The operations of the food processing establishment must be separated from any living or sleeping quarters by complete partitioning and solid self-closing doors. 2. All water-carried sewage must be disposed of by means of a public or private sewage disposal system which is constructed and operated in conformance with applicable state and local laws, ordinances, and regulations. 3. The water supply must be adequate, of a safe, sanitary quality, and from an approved public or private water supply system which is constructed, protected operated and maintained in accordance with applicable state and local laws, ordinances and regulations. 4. All plumbing must comply with the Illinois State Plumbing Code, 77 Ill. Adm. Code 890. All planning and designing of plumbing system and all plumbing shall be performed only by “Licensed plumbers” and “licensed apprentice plumbers”. We will arrange for the State Plumbing Inspector to meet with you and your plumber concerning all plumbing matters. 5. Cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and utensils must occur as often as necessary to prevent contamination (on a predetermined schedule). 6. A hand washing lavatory must be provided in the food processing and packaging area. Provide hand detergent, sanitary towels, and hot and cold running water through a combination faucet or tempered by means of a mixing valve at each hand washing station. A sign must be posted reminding workers to wash their hands prior to beginning work, after returning from the toilet or following any break or change in food handing operations.

  1. Adequate lighting must be provided in the food processing areas, toilet room, and over the hand washing stations.
  2. Protective shielding over light fixtures must be provided in the food processing areas, toilet room, and over the hand washing stations.
  3. The floors and floor covering must be constructed of smooth, durable, non-absorbent, and easily cleanable materials in the food processing, food packaging, utensil-washing, any food storage areas.
  4. The walls, wall coverings, and ceiling must be constructed of a light-colored, smooth, durable, non-absorbent, and easily cleanable material with a minimum of exposed pipes, electrical conduits, and wires outside the walls.
  5. Adequate ventilation must be provided in all areas to minimize odors and noxious fumes. Mechanically vent the toilet rooms to the outside air.
  6. Effectively screen all outer openings and provide a self-closing device on the entrance/exit doors.
  7. Each toilet room must be equipped with self-closing doors and must not open directly into the preparation or ingredient storage rooms.
  8. Garbage and rubbish containers must be provided that are of durable, non-absorbent and easily cleanable construction for the storage or garbage and rubbish. The containers located outside must also be rodent and insect proof, and provided with right-fitting lids or covers for storage outside.
  9. Food preparation surfaces, counters and tables must be smooth, durable, non-absorbent, and easily cleanable. (Formica counters with rolled front-edge type, hard maple, or stainless steel are acceptable.)
  10. Pallets or storage shelves constructed of smooth, non-absorbent and easily cleanable materials may be used for storing raw materials and finished products. TRANSPORATION

1. Provide product transport containers which are of such materials and construction to be smooth, easily cleanable and non-absorbent. Seams and welds must be sealed, smooth and of non-toxic soldering or sealing compounds. 2. Product transport containers must be equipped with light-fitting or overlapping lids or doors to protect food from contamination. 3. Provide an indicating thermometer in the refrigerated compartment which will measure the temperature in the warmest part of the unit (near the door and near the top). This thermometer should be numerically sealed and accurate to plus or minus 3 degrees F. LABELING

1. If the food, such as pies, are sold without packing direct from product transport containers, individual labeling is not required. Should you decide to sell these products in packages, the product label must comply with the Fair Packaging Labeling Act and include on the display panel. a) the name of the food products,

b) the name and address, including zip code of the responsible firm, manufacturer, packer or distributor,

                          c)            the net quantity by volume or weight of the food product,

d) the ingredients in decreasing order of prominence.

  1. Full labeling information as listed above should be included on the invoices and/or other sales materials.  
  2. A meaningfully code on the packaging must be provided to enable positive lot or batch identification. Retain records of lot identification for a period of time that exceeds the shelf life of the product. For more information on labeling, you can get the FDA labeling guide at