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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

need a company of my license for my new job

tiffanyburchett89 asked a question with topics Sanitation

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

If you have already paid the initial $35.00 fee to the Department for your Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification (FSSMC), then the fee for a duplicate is $10.00.

You can request an original or duplicate using this form: http://www.dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/forms/fssmcprogramrequestform.pdf

I was needing to get a copy of my food sanitation license.

mm12781 asked a question with topics License

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

You can find the FSSMC Request Form on our website:http://www.dph.illinois.gov/sites/default/files/forms/fssmcprogramrequestform.pdf

The fee is $35.00 for the IL FSSMC certificate.

Is there a place to look up the status of an employee's certificate?

knight9man asked a question with topics License, Certificate,

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

No, but you can email the Department at dph.fssmc@illinois.gov to check the status.

Where can I obtain the most recent Illinois food code?

nstewart asked a question with topics Sanitation

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

It can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website: http://www.ilga.gov/commission/jcar/admincode/077/07700750sections.html

Do all food service handlers working in long term care facilities need to have a sanitation certificate?

Grammy1938 asked a question with topics Sanitation

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

Are you asking about food manager certification or food handler training?

Food manager certification is based on the risk category assigned by your local health department. A LTC facility should be a Category I, High Risk, so you would need a minimum of 1 employee with an Illinois Food Service Sanitation Manager Certification (FSSMC)on duty at all times when food is being prepared and served.

Food handler training is required beginning July 1, 2016 for anyone meeting the definition of a food handler that works in the area of the facility that the IL Food Code covers, so in the food preparation/service area. This would not include the nursing or therapy staff that assists patients with eating, etc.

I volunteer to grill outside twice a year for a local school to service the kids, their family's and faculity. I was wanting to check and see what sanitation practices I need to follow?

mogo asked a question with topics Food Safety

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

Since requirements can vary county by county in Illinois, you will need to contact your local health department for their requirements, since you will need to be licensed/inspected by them for your temporary event.

what are the requirements for our Lutheran school to prepare and serve food everyday. Our Church and School has a kitchen. We want to serve lunch daily to our school children

robertwdannowitz asked a question with topics Food Safety, License, Certificate,

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

You must contact your local health department to be licensed and inspected to serve food in your county.

How can I find out if I have my FSSMC?

vertigo030 asked a question with topics Certificate

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

You can email us at dph.fssmc@illinois.gov with your information and we will be happy to look in our database to see if you are there.

Does a violation go against the food service manager of the establishment, or just the establishment itself?

aswespiral asked a question with topics Food Safety, Illinois, License, Certificate, Sanitation,

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

As the FSSMC, you are responsible for "operational supervision" of the food safety and sanitation activities at the food service establishment. The facility itself will receive the violations on the inspection report, but you are documented on the report as the FSSMC. Any FSSMC certificate may be revoked or suspended by the State or local health department if they feel this is justified. The FSSMC holder would be given the opportunity for a hearing prior to the suspension or revocation.

Permit/licencing question

jonesaa asked a question with topics Illinois, License, Certificate,

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

Since requirements vary by county, you will need to contact the Kane County Health Department for more information.

If you label a food in your back cooler with the date it was made instead of when it is supposed to be discarded is that a critical violation or a regular violation?

Hossbowen75 asked a question with topics Food Safety

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

It depends on the food item if the violation is a labeling violation or a date marking violation.

Section 750.151 Ready-to-Eat Potentially Hazardous Food, Date Marking

a) On-Premises Preparation (prepare and hold cold)

Except when packaging food using a reduced oxygen packaging method, and except as specified in subsections (d) and (e) of this Section, refrigerated, ready-to-eat potentially hazardous food prepared and held in a food establishment for more than 24 hours shall be clearly marked to indicate the date or day by which the food shall be consumed on the premises, sold, or discarded, and maintained at 41°F or less for a maximum of 7 days. The day of preparation shall be counted as Day 1.

b) Commercially Processed Food (open and cold hold)

Except as specified in subsections (d)-(f) of this Section, refrigerated, ready-to-eat potentially hazardous food prepared and packaged by a food processing plant shall be clearly marked, at the time the original container is opened in a food establishment and, if the food is held for more than 24 hours, to indicate the date or day by which the food shall be consumed on the premises, sold, or discarded, based on the temperature and time combination specified in subsection (a) of this Section.

1) The day the original container is opened in the food establishment shall be counted as Day 1.

2) The day or date marked by the food establishment may not exceed a manufacturer's use-by date if the manufacturer determined the use-by date based on food safety.

c) A refrigerated, ready-to-eat potentially hazardous food ingredient or a portion of a refrigerated, ready-to-eat potentially hazardous food that is subsequently combined with additional ingredients or portions of food shall retain the date marking of the earliest-prepared or first-prepared ingredient.

d) A date-marking system that meets the criteria stated in subsections (a) and (b) of this Section may include:

1) Using a method approved by the regulatory authority for refrigerated, ready-to-eat potentially hazardous food that is frequently rewrapped, such as lunchmeat or a roast, or for which date marking is impractical, such as soft serve mix or milk in a dispensing machine;

2) Marking the date or day of preparation, with a procedure to discard the food on or before the last date or day by which the food must be consumed on the premises, sold, or discarded as specified under subsection (a) of this Section;

3) Marking the date or day the original container is opened in a food establishment, with a procedure to discard the food on or before the last date or day by which the food must be consumed on the premises, sold, or discarded as specified under subsection (b) of this Section; or

4) Using calendar dates, days of the week, color-coded marks, or other effective marking methods, provided that the marking system is disclosed to the regulatory authority upon request.

e) Subsections (a) and (b) of this Section do not apply to individual meal portions served or repackaged for sale from a bulk container upon a consumer's request.

f) Subsection (b) of this Section does not apply to the following food prepared and packaged by a food processing plant inspected by a regulatory authority:

1) Deli salads, such as ham salad, seafood salad, chicken salad, egg salad, pasta salad, potato salad, and macaroni salad, manufactured in accordance with 21 CFR 110: Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packaging, or Holding Human Food;

2) Hard cheeses containing not more than 39% moisture as defined in 21 CFR 133: Cheeses and Related Cheese Products;

3) Semi-soft cheeses containing more than 39% moisture, but not more than 50% moisture, as defined in 21 CFR 133: Cheeses and Related Cheese Products;

4) Cultured dairy products as defined in 21 CFR 131: Milk and Cream;

5) Preserved fish products, such as pickled herring and dried or salted cod, and other acidified fish products defined in 21 CFR 114: Acidified Food

6) Shelf-stable, dry fermented sausages, such as pepperoni and Genoa salami that are not labeled "Keep Refrigerated" as specified in 9 CFR 317: Labeling, Marking Devices, and Containers; and

7) Shelf-stable salt-cured products such as proscuitto and Parma (ham) that are not labeled "Keep Refrigerated" as specified in 9 CFR 317: Labeling, Marking Devices, and Containers.

Do you have an example of a variance request form for bare hand contact and RTE food?

bano53 asked a question with topics Food Safety

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

You would obtain a variance request from your local health department.

What determines if an establishments risk factor is class 1, 2 or 3?

bogy55 asked a question with topics License

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

The risk category assigned to retail food establishments in Illinois is determined by the local health department based on the operations within that establishment:

"Category I facility" means a food establishment that presents a high relative risk of causing food-borne illness, based on the large number of food handling operations typically implicated in food-borne outbreaks and/or the type of population served by the facility. Category I facilities include those where the following operations occur:

Potentially hazardous foods are cooled, as part of the food handling operation at the facility;

Potentially hazardous foods are prepared hot or cold and held hot or cold for more than 12 hours before serving;

Potentially hazardous cooked and cooled foods must be reheated;

Potentially hazardous foods are prepared for off-premises serving for which time-temperature requirements during transportation, holding and service are relevant;

Complex preparation of foods or extensive handling of raw ingredients with hand contact for ready-to-eat foods occurs as part of the food handling operations at the facility;

Vacuum packaging and/or other forms of reduced oxygen packaging are performed at the retail level; or

Immunocompromised individuals such as the elderly, young children under age four and pregnant women are served, where these individuals compose the majority of the consuming population.

"Category II facility" means a food establishment that presents a medium relative risk of causing food-borne illness, based upon few food handling operations typically implicated in food-borne illness outbreaks. Category II facilities include those where the following operations occur:

Hot or cold foods are held at required temperatures for no more than 12 hours and are restricted to same-day services;

Foods are prepared from raw ingredients, using only minimal assembly; and

Foods that require complex preparation (whether canned, frozen or fresh prepared) are obtained from approved food-processing plants, high-risk food service establishments or retail food stores.

"Category III facility" means a food establishment that presents a low relative risk of causing food-borne illness, based upon few or no food handling operations typically implicated in food-borne illness outbreaks. Category III facilities include those where the following operations occur:

Only pre-packaged foods are available or served in the facility, and any potentially hazardous foods available are commercially pre-packaged in an approved processing plant;

Only limited preparation of non-potentially hazardous foods and beverages, such as snack foods and carbonated beverages, occurs at the facility; or

Only beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are served at the facility.

How many questions is on the state board for public health?

Mblanc77 asked a question with topics License

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

Not sure what you are asking? Are you inquiring about a specific exam? If so, then you need to know the type and provider of the exam and contact the provider or proctor of the exam for that information.

Are food handlers certification needed for retail establishments that sell only prepackaged foods and self serve beverages (soda, coffee, icee)?

foodsafetyguy asked a question with topics Food Safety, Certificate,

April.Caulk, FSSMC Coordinator

Food handler training is only required for those that meet the definition of a food handler: "food handler" means an individual working with unpackaged food, food equipment or utensils, or food-contact surfaces. So, if there are no employees that meet that definition, then training is not required. Keep in mind though, that ice is a food and if it is being handled or packaged, training would be necessary.