Food Inspection Process

Food Establishment Inspection Process

Green, Yellow, Red rating system

It is the responsibility of the Washoe County Health District (WCHD), Environmental Health Services Division to conduct routine inspections of retail food establishments in Washoe County in order to ensure compliance with the Regulations of The Washoe County District Board of Health Governing Food Establishments (WCHD food regulations). The WCHD food regulations can be found on the Regulations Page.

Standard routine inspections are unannounced inspections conducted at each food establishment at least once per year. The focus of routine compliance inspections is on critical violations.

Critical violations are more likely to contribute to foodborne illness or injury. Examples of critical violations include improper cooking procedures, temperature abuse of food during storage, lack of hygiene and sanitation by food service workers, cross contamination between raw and ready-to-eat foods and foods from unsafe sources. 

Non-critical violations are those violations that do not directly cause foodborne illness, but are important factors in general sanitation and maintenance, operational controls, and facility design.

Download the Food Establishment Inspection Form used by staff when inspecting an establishment and the corresponding Food Establishment Field Inspection Guide which provides a detailed explanation of common violations, and appropriate corrective actions.

Inspection findings may result in a Pass, Conditional Pass, or Closed status:

Pass An establishment having no more than one critical violation observed during the inspection.  Critical violations shall be corrected or mitigated during the inspection.
Conditional Pass An establishment having two or more critical violations observed during the inspection.  Critical violations shall be corrected or mitigated during the inspection.  A reinspection shall be conducted within 24 to 72 hours to verify critical violations remain corrected.
Closed If a substantial health hazard exists, as defined in these regulations, or if it is determined that there is a risk of imminent danger to the public, the Health Authority shall suspend the health permit and the establishment must immediately cease food service operations.  Operations, once ceased, shall not be resumed until the health permit is reinstated by the Health Authority.

Inspection results can be viewed at

If you have any additional questions regarding the new regulations or inspection process, contact The Food Protection Services program at