Food Safety

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Welcome to the Food Safety Section

The Food Safety Program ensures that commercially prepared food is safe to consume. Environmental Health Specialists review plans for new establishments and ensure compliance with the food code. They inspect restaurants, retail food stores, food warehouses, food processors, institutional food services and county correctional facilities. Staff members investigate public complaints on food establishments and reports of possible foodborne illness.

All employees of food establishments permitted by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department must have LLCHD issued food handler/manager permits. The Food Safety Program provides food handler/manager education and permitting.

Contact Us:  Telephone:  402-441- 6280  ~ Fax: 402-441-6206  ~ TTYNE Relay 7-1-1  ~  Hours: 8:00 - 4:30 M-F

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will resume In-Person Spanish Food Handler Classes beginning July 2021.  These classes will be held on Tuesday afternoons at the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) located at 3131 O Street in the Lower Level Training Center.  Class size will be limited to 20 persons.  Attendees must call 402-441-6280 to reserve a spot for a scheduled class.  Class attendees that are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 should wear a mask.

You may access the Food Handler Class Schedule here.(PDF, 589KB)

You may continue to go to foodhandlers.unl.edu for online classes.


COMMONLY USED LINKS

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Get your City of Lincoln Food Handler Permit Online.

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Get your State of Nebraska and City of Lincoln Alcohol Server/Seller Permit Online.

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Search Food Establishment Inspection Records on line.

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Wash Hands Poster(PDF, 765KB)

 

  

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UNL Extension in Lancaster County

Farmers’ Market & Cottage Food Operations

Office Hours:  8:00 - 4:30 M-F
Telephone:  402-441-6280
Fax:  402-441-6206
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There are special rules and fees governing temporary events and establishments. These categories include sidewalk vendors, street fairs, farmers markets, and hot dog stands. Information about Farmers' Markets and Cottage Food Operations is as follows.

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Food Handler Information / Responsible Beverage Server/Seller Information

Office Hours:  8:00 - 4:30 M-F
Telephone:  402-441-6280
Fax:  402-441-6206
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Food Handler Information  restaurant kitchen        

Food Handler Permits and Responsible Beverage Server/Seller Information can be retrieved either on-line or in-person. If you obtained a permit on line, you can print or reprint valid permits at no charge. Log in using your user name and password then click on "View Training Dashboard." Select the print option. Advance to a higher food handler permit type by viewing your training dashboard and selecting "Enter" under "Your Available Training.

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ATTENTION

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department will resume In-Person Spanish Food Handler Classes beginning July 2021.  These classes will be held on Tuesday afternoons at the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) located at 3131 O Street in the Lower Level Training Center.  Class size will be limited to 20 persons.  Attendees must call 402-441-6280 to reserve a spot for a scheduled class.  Class attendees that are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 should wear a mask. 

You may access the Food Handler Class Schedule here.(PDF, 589KB)

You may continue to go to foodhandlers.unl.edu for online classes.


Click on the link below to obtain a study guide of information covered in food handler classes. You are encouraged to take notes in class.

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Visit these links for additional questions regarding the Responsible Beverage Server Training.

 

Health, Safety, and Hygiene

Office Hours:  8:00 - 4:30 M-F
Telephone:  402-441-6280
Fax:  402-441-6206
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This section has posters, fliers, and other food safety educational tools for schools, food establishments, or other organizations. Additional information can be found on the Managing a Food Establishment page.

 

PREVENTING CONTAMINATION FROM HANDS

The main reason for not touching ready-to-eat foods with bare hands is to prevent viruses and bacteria which are present in your body from contaminating the food. Viruses and bacteria are invisible to the naked eye, but may be present on your hands if you do not wash them thoroughly. Effective October 1, 2016, the City of Lincoln Food Code (LMC 8.20) prohibits bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods and requires good hand washing by food service workers.

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BODY FLUID CLEAN UP

Body fluids (vomit, diarrhea, blood, and spittle) can be carriers of germs. Train employees to stay safe while cleaning up these incidents properly.

INFUSE

Office Hours:  8:00 - 4:30 M-F
Telephone:  402-441-6280
Fax:  402-441-6206
TTYNE Relay 7-1-1

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Food establishment owners and managers face many challenges in today’s market. Operating a successful food business requires understanding the competition, managing staff, knowledge of regulations and more. Food safety cannot get lost in the shuffle.

Infuse is a program developed by the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) to help owners, managers of food establishments and vendors maintain proper food safety.

ACTIVE MANAGERIAL CONTROL - FIVE KEY RISK FACTORS TO FOODBORNE ILLNESS
Active Managerial Control (AMC) is exactly that—a strategy that combines your leadership with good monitoring, consistent documentation and standard operating procedures to help your facility avoid the trouble and even tragedy foodborne illness can cause.

POOR PERSONAL HYGIENE

Poor practices related to food handler health and hygiene are the biggest contributor to foodborne illnesses each year. AMCs for this Risk Factor is like a 3-legged stool sustained by 1) good handwashing practice, 2) No Bare Hand Contact with Ready-to-Eat Foods, and 3) exclusion of ill employees while they are communicable with foodborne illness symptoms.

IMPROPER HOLDING

To keep food safe, hot foods must be kept above 135° F and cold foods must be kept below 41° F. Foods kept between 41-135° F are in the Temperature Danger Zone where they are at the greatest risk to support bacterial growth, which can lead to a foodborne illness. Proactive management to hold food at safe temperatures and to minimize the time in the Temperature Danger Zone is a cornerstone to good Active Managerial Control.

INADEQUATE COOKING

Certain foods, particularly meats, are often contaminated with pathogens and can easily easy support their pathogen growth. To minimize the risk of foodborne illness for these foods proper cooking and reheating are essential to proactively manage this Risk Factor. Cooked foods and leftovers must also be properly cooled to move them quickly through the Temperature Danger Zone.

CONTAMINATED EQUIPMENT

As a regular part of the food preparation process, food particles end up on prep surfaces. Without regular cleaning and sanitation, pathogens are given the opportunity to grow, which can lead to contamination of other food or equipment. Proactive management of food contact surfaces greatly minimizes the risk of cross-contamination.

UNAPPROVED FOOD SOURCE

The vast majority of food served by restaurants comes from inspected and approved sources, but some establishments seeks alternative food sources. This can carry a great risk to the establishment and customers as the food may be prepared in unsanitary ways. This can put the customer’s health and the restaurant’s future at risk when this food causes foodborne illness. Active Managerial Control ensures all the food served in their facility is from a licensed source for the safety of the customer and the restaurant.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Infuse is a partnership between your establishment and an LLCHD Food Safety consultant. Using AMCs, the consultant works with you to evaluate and strengthen your establishment’s core food safety practices. For a printable brochure, please click here(PDF, 323KB) .

Enrollment in Infuse is free. Set up an initial visit and learn how Infuse can benefit you by contacting LLCHD at 402.441.8024 or infuse@lincoln.ne.gov


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What is Take 20?

“Take 20!” is an innovative program designed to improve food handler handwashing practices through a variety of tools. The cornerstone is the use of the “Take 20!” phrase as a verbal reminder to wash hands. “Take 20!” uses an engaging set of posters on specific handwashing topics that will generate conversation among food handling staff and serve as a visual reminder to wash hands. In addition to the “Take 20!” phrase and posters, the project provides Glo Germ exercises to demonstrate the how, when and why of good handwashing. Regardless of how strong a restaurant’s handwashing culture is, good handwashing practices are such a vital part of food safety that there is always the need to reinforce good handwashing practices with staff and look for ways to improve.

MORE INFORMATION ON TAKE 20.

How can I get started?

Let us know that you want to participate and we will get you all set up! You may print this brochure(PDF, 11MB)  for more information.


Thank you to these establishments already participating!

  • B&R Stores (Lincoln Russ’s & Super Saver bakeries)
  • Blue Orchid
  • C Berry’s
  • Casey's General Store (19 Lincoln-Lancaster locations with kitchens)
  • Fuzzy's Taco Shop
  • Highland’s Great Wall
  • Issara
  • Leon’s
  • Lincoln Public School Cafeterias
  • LNK Food Plaza
  • Piedmont Bistro
  • Runza (all Lincoln-Waverly locations)
  • Schmick's Market
  • The Venue
  • Valentinos - Lincoln

 

RESOURCES

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Managing a Food Establishment

Office Hours:  8:00 - 4:30 M-F
Telephone:  402-441-6280
Fax:  402-441-6206
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Managers will also benefit from the information in the Food Operators Information and the Health, Safety & Hygiene pages. The topics on these pages provide additional insights and guidance that managers need to know.

Food Establishment Plumbing requirements

  • Maintain plumbing in good repair.
  • Plumbing work should be completed by a licensed plumber.
  • For backflow prevention questions, contact LLCHD.

Food employees' health and personal hygiene are critical to operating a safe food establishment.

ADA Rules on Service Animals and Service Animals in Businesses. This act was modified effective March 15, 2011, to redefine service animals. Be sure that your establishment is in compliance with all applicable laws.

ADDITIONAL MANAGEMENT INFORMATION

Opening a Food Establishment

Office Hours:  8:00 - 4:30 M-F
Telephone:  402-441-6280
Fax:  402-441-6206
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Establishments need to meet certain standards. On this page you will find many resources for establishment design, proper plumbing, disposal of waste, and recycling materials. Additional information can be found in the Food Establishment Manager Information and the Hygiene, Health, and Safety pages.

People who wish to open a new food establishment can save time, effort, and money by knowing and following these guidelines.

Regulations and Fees

Office Hours:  8:00 - 4:30 M-F
Telephone:  402-441-6280
Fax:  402-441-6206
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Food codes establish federal, state, and local regulations for preparing, storing, holding, and serving food in safe manner. By complying with these codes you can reduce risks and help protect your investment in your business.

ADDITIONAL COUNTY, STATE, FEDERAL AGENCY LINKS:

Temporary Establishments and Events

Office Hours:  8:00 - 4:30 M-F
Telephone:  402-441-6280
Fax:  402-441-6206
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Information on Temporary Events and Establishments listed below and are especially useful about employee health and permits.FoodTruck.jpg