The Food Protection system promotes health and prevents disease through education, training, and regulation, in partnership with operators and employees of the nearly 5,000 food service establishments in Austin and Travis County.
These include restaurants, grocery stores, bars, mobile vendors, food manufacturers, food warehouses, coffee bars, bakeries, convenience stores, and some child care centers. All food establishments should be inspected twice each year to assure food is being handled properly from the moment it is received through service to the consumer. If unable to be inspected at this frequency, then inspections will be prioritized by risk.
Inspectors observe kitchen workers' food handling practices, assure equipment is working properly, take food temperatures, inspect refrigerators and storage areas, and assure proper water temperatures, use of sanitizers and rodent and insect control. Any problem found is documented on the inspection form and the manager is taught the procedure or method to correct the problem.
Inspectors issue permits, provide education to food workers, and review restaurant plans. Staff also investigate food borne illness outbreaks and participate in product recalls.
Except for those businesses that meet the requirements of a Cottage Food Industry, home preparation of food for public consumption is prohibited.
Cottage Food Industry
A cottage food production operation is not required to have a City of Austin food permit. Before operating a food business check with other City of Austin Departments to determine if there are laws or ordinances, such as zoning that will affect your business.