Health Inspection FAQ

What do you inspect?
We inspect all food establishments and tattoo businesses within the Lancaster City limits. This includes restaurants, grocery and food specialty stores, caterers, institutional food services, seasonal and special events vendors.

How often do you inspect an establishment?
We make an effort to inspect at least two times a year. We also inspect if we receive a complaint. The results of our inspections are printed the 4th Sunday of each month in the Lancaster Sunday News.

What happens when you get a complaint about a restaurant or a store?
The person who complains may remain anonymous if he/she wishes. We will make every effort to respond to the complaint within one business day that it is received.

Does the establishment know when you are coming to inspect?
Food establishments and tattoo businesses know we are coming to inspect only for the initial inspection prior to opening a new business, or after remodeling. Subsequent inspections are unannounced.

What do you look for in an inspection?
We look for a healthy, safe and clean establishment, including observing employee practices, in conjunction with the state food code. We also try to be proactive and provide any health safety education that pertains to the business.

Food Establishments

What are some problems you might find in a food establishment?

Some problems are quite serious and could make people sick. For example:
-  Failure to maintain proper temperatures of food products, either stored or served, can be the cause of food poisoning.
-  Lack of proper hand-washing by all employees handling food can also be the cause of some very serious problems.
-  Other serious violations, which could result in temporary closure, are a severe rodent infestation, a sewage problem, and general unsanitary conditions, including poor and improper food handling.

State guidelines require:
- All employees involved in food preparation must wear hair restraints, hats, hairnets, etc.
- Gloves must be worn when preparing ready to eat foods.
- The only jewelry that can be worn on hands and wrists is a wedding band.
- A Consumer Advisory must be added to menus advising patrons that there is a risk to eating undercooked foods.

What if I see a problem at a restaurant or food store in Lancaster City?
Please call a Health Officer here in Lancaster City. Your call can remain anonymous. Your call may prevent someone from becoming sick. Our numbers are 291-4707 or 291-4714. If you see a problem outside the City we will refer you to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for assistance.

What is the Food Safety Certification requirement?
State law requires that all food related businesses have at least one employee who is certified in food safety. This means that employee has successfully completed a State approved food safety course. Classes are available through a home study program.

Food safety certification information and requirements may be found online here.

Tattoo Businesses
Tattoo and body piercing is regulated by the City.

A Health License issued by a City Health Officer is required to be
displayed in a prominent place.

Shops are inspected semi-annually.

Owners and artists are licensed by a City Health Officer and are required to have:
-  Blood borne Pathogens training;
-  Hepatitis B shot series;
-  Sterilization practices and equipment in place.