Knox County Tennessee

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
  • Re-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 environmental@knoxcounty.org or by phone at 865-215-5200 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Knox County Tennessee - Health Department

Main Clinic
140 Dameron Ave,
Knoxville, TN 37917
865-215-5000

Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

Please Note:

On the first Wednesday of every month (except August), all KCHD offices and clinics are closed in the morning for staff in-service. On these days, the main location (140 Dameron Ave.) will open at 11 a.m. and the West Clinic (1028 Old Cedar Bluff) will open at 11:30 a.m.
On the third Wednesday of every month, KCHD clinics (Women's Health, COE, CDC, Dental, TIC, Immunizations, COVID clinic and West) are closed in the morning for staff clinical education. On these days, the main location will open at 10 a.m. and the West Clinic will open at 10:30 a.m.
*All other offices will open at 8 a.m.

Infant and childhood immunizations as well as adult vaccines by appointment ONLY. Please call 865-215-5950.

1028 Old Cedar Bluff
Knoxville, TN 37923
865-215-5950

Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm

On the first Wednesday of every month (except August), all KCHD offices and clinics are closed in the morning for staff in-service. On these days, the main location (140 Dameron Ave.) will open at 11 a.m. and the West Clinic (1028 Old Cedar Bluff) will open at 11:30 a.m.

Map Of All Clinics
Department Email