The following documents will be required when submitting a Plan Review Application to NET Health.
The plan review process presents a unique opportunity to discuss and prepare a proper foundation that will enable a FOOD ESTABLISHMENT to be successful, remain in compliance over time, and protect public health. Quality plan review, process improvement and the dedication to providing excellent customer service are high priorities for this Manual. Plan review assists in providing greater uniformity, technical assistance, and is essential for customer success and avoiding future establishment problems. Poor design, repair, and maintenance will compromise the functionality of the PHYSICAL FACILITIES and its operations. Plan review is intended to ensure PHYSICAL FACILITIES and proposed operational processes are properly designed and sanitary practices implemented in order to serve their intended purposes.
The plan review process provides the REGULATORY AUTHORITY with the opportunity to complete an effective evaluation of a FOOD ESTABLISHMENT’s ability to ensure the following:
No establishment is to be constructed and no major alteration or addition is to be made until detailed plans and specifications for such construction, alteration or addition have been submitted to and APPROVED by the REGULATORY AUTHORITY.
The REGULATORY AUTHORITY may impose specific requirements and provisions in addition to the requirements contained in codes that are authorized by law that are necessary to protect against public health hazards or nuisances. The REGULATORY AUTHORITY shall document the conditions that necessitate the imposition of additional requirements and the underlying public health rationale.
The function of plan review, construction inspections, pre-operational inspections, and the permit approval process is to provide a comprehensive overview of proposed operations with an emphasis on contents of plans, EQUIPMENT specifications, architectural design, and operational procedures. The end goal of the plan review process is to prevent foodborne illness resulting from poor sanitary facility design and/or floor plans, and, where applicable, when the process is based on menu, FOOD preparation, and FOOD product flow.
Proper plan review submittal with EQUIPMENT listed and located on floor plans as well as specifications for finish and plumbing schedules will highlight potential problems on paper while allowing for modifications to be made before costly purchases, installations, and construction are performed.
All facilities, systems, processes, and menus, when applicable, will be evaluated to determine minimum operational requirements. Refer to Appendix A for a copy of the Plan Review Application.
The following is a summary of what should be included in the plan submittal:
The menu review and the flow of FOOD through the FOOD ESTABLISHMENT are integral parts of the plan review process. The menu or a listing of all of the FOOD and beverage items to be offered at the FOOD ESTABLISHMENT must be submitted as part of the plan review application to the REGULATORY AUTHORITY.
As with the inspection process, the plan review process should focus on the FOOD and its flow through receipt, storage, preparation and service. The source and quantity of FOOD to be served should be reviewed along with the preparation and post-preparation operations. It is imperative to have knowledge of this information so that a proper assessment of the PHYSICAL FACILITIES can be made.
The food that flows through retail FOOD ESTABLISHMENT operations can be placed into the 3 following processes:
• FOOD PROCESSES WITH NO COOK STEP
o Receive – Store - Prepare – Hold – Serve (Other processes may occur, but there is NO cooking step)
o Examples: Salads, deli meats, cheeses, sashimi, raw oysters
• FOOD PREPARATION FOR SAME DAY SERVICE
o Receive – Store - Prepare - Cook – Hold – Serve (Other processes may occur, including thawing)
o Examples: Hamburgers, fried chicken, hot dogs
• COMPLEX PROCESSES
o Receive – Store - Prepare – Cook – Cool – Reheat – Hot Hold – Serve (Other processes may occur, but the key is repeated trips through the temperature danger zone)
o Examples: Refried beans, leftovers
Knowledge of how the FOOD is intended to flow through the FOOD ESTABLISHMNET is very useful since the CRITICAL CONTROL POINTS for each process remain the same regardless of the individual menu ingredients. Special attention should be given to the review of complex FOOD processes which involve:
• Multiple ingredients being assembled or mixed
• TIME/TEMPERATURE CONTROL FOR SAFETY(TCS) FOODs
• FOODs which will be prepared or held for several hours prior to service
• FOODs requiring cooling and reheating
• Multiple step processing (passing through the Time Temperature Danger Zone, 135˚F - 41˚F more than once)
The process approach can be described as dividing the many flows in a FOOD ESTABLISHMENT into broad categories, analyzing the risks, and placing manager controls on each grouping of FOOD processes. These groupings will also impact the facility design; FOOD flow; and the numbers, types, function and placement of EQUIPMENT.
Example of plan review fixture plan drawing submitted for plan review.
Layout, flow and menu (including FOOD preparation processes) should be major considerations to help facilitate an operator’s Active Managerial Control (AMC) of the risk factors for foodborne illness. Strategic layout and placing of facilities and EQUIPMENT will separate different FOOD preparation processes, a major step towards preventing contamination of FOOD that may result from poor personal hygiene, contaminated EQUIPMENT, and improper holding temperatures. Adequate and convenient storage will also enhance operations.
The menu for a FOOD ESTABLISHMENT dictates the space and EQUIPMENT requirements for the safe preparation and service of various FOOD items. The menu will determine if the proposed receiving and delivery areas, storage area, preparation and handling areas, and thawing, cooking and reheating areas are available and adequate to handle the types and volumes of FOODs being prepared and served.
When reviewing the menu, it is important to evaluate the flow patterns for the preparation of the FOOD to be sure that the lay-out of the facility provides an adequate separation of raw ingredients from READY-TO-EAT FOODs, and that the traffic patterns are not crossing paths with waste items and other sources of contamination. Cross contamination can be minimized when the flow of FOOD is considered during plan review.
With a proper understanding of the menu and flow, the plans for FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS can be reviewed to help assure that the FOOD items being considered can be protected during all aspects of the FOOD operation.
Example floor materials are as follows:
1.Quarry tile, ceramic tile
2.SEALED curbed concrete
3.Seamless poured epoxy minimum 3/16-inch thick.
4.Commercial-grade sheet vinyl (no felt backing)
5.Commercial-grade vinyl composition tile (VCT)
Pre-approval from the REGULATORY AUTHORITY should be obtained prior to use of carpet and/or wood.
Example wall materials are as follows:
4.Fiber-glassed reinforced panels (FRP)
5.SEALED Concrete blocks or bricks
6.Epoxy or glazed drywall
Example ceiling materials may include wall finish material listed above along with the following:
1.EASILY CLEANABLE, non-absorbent ceiling tiles
Coving is the floor material found at the base of walls (wall/floor junctures) and is required in most areas of the FOOD ESTABLISHMENT, such as:
FOOD preparation, storage, handling, and packaging areas
1.UTENSIL washing and storage areas
2.Interior waste disposal areas (garbage, REFUSE, grease)
4.Hand washing areas
6.Walk-in refrigerator and freezer units (inside and outside)
7.Bars (employee side)
8.Customer self-serve areas where non-individually prepackaged FOODs or beverages are sold or dispensed (e.g., salad bars, buffets, bulk FOOD sales, beverage stations)
9.Employee change and storage areas
Coved flooring material should extend integrally up the walls. Integral coving is not required in areas used exclusively for dining, point-of-sale, or the storage of UTENSILs or FOODs contained in the original un-opened container
Floor Installation Diagrams
Example of quarry tile cove base.
All openings to the outside shall be effectively protected against the entrance of insects and rodents. All roller doors, sliding or bi-fold doors, or similar movable wall systems that are not self- closing and create a continuous opening to the exterior must have an effective means of pest control.
Some examples of effective barriers include:
1.Solid, tight fitting, self-closing doors.
2.Fixed or self-closing screens of #16 mesh or finer.
3.Effective air curtains.
This may not apply if a FOOD ESTABLISHMENT opens into a larger completely enclosed structure such as a coliseum, arena, warehouse, shopping mall, superstores, airport, or office building, where the outer openings from the larger structure are protected against the entry of insects and rodents.
All masonry or cement foundations must be rodent proof. Seal all openings into the foundation and exterior walls, including openings & penetrations around wall and ceiling penetrations.
Cover all building vents with a minimum #16 mesh screen. Effectively seal all air ducts, skylight, transoms, and other openings to the outside.
Windows that open to the outside must be properly protected with minimum #16 mesh screen, with the exception of service windows.
Drive-thru and walk-up service windows must have effective means to prevent pest entry, to include minimum #16 mesh screens, properly designed and installed air curtains, or other effective means such as self-closing devices (spring-loaded, bump pad, electronic opener, or gravity operated).
C. Delivery, Customer, and Toilet Room Doors
Exterior doors: All outside doors shall be self-closing and tight fitting. Install a door sweep and weather stripping to prevent the entrance of insects and rodents. Note: Daylight shall not be visible around the perimeter of the door.
Garage Doors, Roller Doors, and Loa ding Docks: Garage and roller type delivery doors must be protected against pests. Loading docks shall have properly installed tight fitting dock seals at all loading bays. If the location of one of these doors exposes the kitchen or other FOOD service, air curtains will be required.
Toilet Room (Restroom) doors: All toilet rooms located in or adjacent to a FOOD ESTABLISHMENT shall be provided with tight fitting, self-closing doors. This requirement does not apply to a toilet room that is located outside a FOOD ESTABLISHMENT and does not open directly into the FOOD ESTABLISHMENT such as a toilet room that is provided by the management of a shopping mall.
D. Insect Control Devices, Design and Installation
Insect control devices that are used to electrocute or stun flying insects shall be designed to retain the insect within the device. These devices must not be located above FOOD preparation areas and installed to prevent the contamination of exposed FOOD, clean EQUIPMENT, UTENSILs, and LINENS, from insect fragments
A. Mechanical Ventilation Requirements
Commercial cooking or display EQUIPMENT, which produces smoke, steam, grease, mists, particulate matter, condensation, vapors, fumes, odors, or create sanitation or indoor air quality problems, will require a hood.
Hoods shall be designed and installed to prevent grease and condensation from collecting on walls, ceilings, and dripping into FOOD or onto FOOD contact surfaces. All hoods should comply with the current International Mechanical Code (IMC) and/or all local building and fire safety codes.
Balancing of the exhaust and make-up air must be ensured so that the system can be operated efficiently.
B. Mechanical Ventilation Hood Systems
Type I hoods are required over EQUIPMENT that produce grease, smoke, excessive steam, heat, condensation, particulate matter, odors, or create indoor sanitation or indoor quality problems. Examples of equipment requiring installation under a hood include: Kettles, pasta cookers, hot plates, salamanders, Mongolian-style grills, gas cooking EQUIPMENT, tableside cooking EQUIPMENT, such as Teppanyaki-style cooking, Tandoori ovens, rotisserie units, Panini grills, etc.
Type I Hood over Cook Line
Fire suppression system
The National Fire Protection Association provides a resource for FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS to reduce the potential fire hazard of commercial cooking operations. Refer to the NFPA link below or your local/State Fire Protection regulations. National Fire Protection Association
Type II hoods shall be installed over EQUIPMENT that produce steam, heat, mists, condensation, fumes, vapors, and non-grease laden FOODs.
Type II Hood over WAREWASHING Machine
Vent less Hood Systems or ventilation systems integral to the cooking EQUIPMENT need to be reviewed and APPROVED by the local mechanical code, and other applicable fire safety codes.
The NET Health Environmental Health Department is participating in the FDA Voluntary National Retail Food Regualtory Program Standards in an effort to Reduce Risk and increase standardization in the Retail Food Inspection Program. To see where NET Health is in this 5 year grant opportunity. Download the document