In order to assure that food served to the public is safe, a permitting and inspection program requires all retail food establishments to be in substantial compliance with state regulations. Through contracts with most of the cities in Tarrant County (NOT Fort Worth, Arlington, North Richland Hills or Euless) the food safety staff routinely check food establishments. The inspections results are posted on our food inspection scores web page at this link.
Any establishment providing potentially hazardous food, or open food, to the public is required to have a permit and be inspected for compliance with the Texas Food Establishment Regulations. Follow this link for a copy of the Texas Food Establishment Regulations. Tarrant County inspects facilities in 32 cities, DFW Airport and 17 school districts throughout Tarrant County. Follow this link for a list of contract cities. An annual permit is required and establishments are usually inspected twice a year (unannounced). Some low-risk establishments may be dropped to once per year and high-risk or repeat violators are placed on more frequent inspection schedules. Permit fees vary depending on the city and we are working to get uniform fees across the county.
Mobile food units are permitted in the unincorporated area and the permit is valid in all of the cities within our jurisdiction. It is important to note that most cities also require an itinerant vendor permit to operate in their city.
Tarrant County Public Health performs inspections of food establishments using the Texas Food Establishment Rules. The only change or addition we make to the rules is the requirement for individual food handlers to be trained in food safety. While this training is minimal, we try to make sure that every food handler has some basic knowledge to help in the day to day preparation of safe food. The state rules are based on a federal model ordinance which is periodically reviewed and updated. In recent years the trend in the rules has been to move away from the physical structure, floors walls and ceilings, so that more emphasis can be placed on the actual food and its preparation.