Food Protection Division Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is responsible for food safety in food service establishments?
A: The operator or the owner of the food service establishment is responsible for food safety and code compliance. Our Food Protection Program assists and supports the food service establishment in fulfilling its responsibilities through education, training, monitoring and regulation.
Q: When is an inspection "unsatisfactory"?
A: Whenever a "priority violation" is marked, the inspection is deemed unsatisfactory. After a priority violation has been marked, a follow-up inspection will be conducted at the establishment within 10 to 15 days to assure compliance. Upon a successful correction of the violation, the score will be adjusted to reflect correction of the violation.
Q: When do you close an establishment?
A: Three situations may result in the closing of an establishment:
- Three occurrences of the same priority violation during the last three health inspections begins the process of potentially closing an establishment. In order for the establishment to avoid being temporarily closed, the operator may submit an action plan while correcting the conditions in the establishment that have resulted as recurring violations. A permit revocation hearing at the Knox County Health Department may also be conducted before the closure of an establishment.
- There is an imminent health hazard such as lack of water in the establishment, lack of refrigeration or means to maintain proper food temperatures, or sewage backflow.
- The establishment is operating without a permit.
Q: Why would an inspector visit my facility?
A: An environmental specialist may visit a food establishment for several different reasons:
- Routine inspections
- Investigation of complaints by customers
- Investigation of foodborne illnesses
- Educational visits
The main duties of an environmental specialist are to observe, monitor, ask questions and educate.
Have more questions? Contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 865-215-5200 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.