Food Safety Services

Online Food Service Reports

Online Food Service Establishment Inspection Reports are available by submitting a Freedom of Information Act Request.

Concerns regarding food safety or sanitation within a food service facility within Kent County?
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Kent County Health Department is responsible for the licensure and auditing of food facilities located within Kent County that sell or serve food to the public. This includes restaurants, concession stands, bars, school lunch programs, catering operations, mobile food carts, coffee shops, cafes, and temporary food events. Food facilities not regulated by Kent County include food processing plants, butcher shops, produce markets, convenience stores, and grocery stores. These operations are licensed and regulated by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

The licensing and auditing of food facilities is intended to ensure that these operations maintain a level of food safety and sanitation compliant with the Food Law & Code. The majority of food facilities regulated by Kent County receive two unannounced food audits annually. These audits are risk based and focus on the five CDC risk factors that contribute to foodborne illness. These risk factors include unapproved food source, poor food employee hygiene, improper cooking temperatures, inadequate cold & hot holding of food, and cleanliness of food contact surfaces.

Licensing & Plan Review

All food facilities (permanent, temporary, fixed, or mobile) are required to obtain a food license before operation. If a new facility is being constructed or an existing facility remodeled, then an application for plan review must be submitted to Kent County Health Department and approved before construction may begin.

**Please note that grocery stores, warehouses, retailing/wholesaling facilities may need to go through review with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).**

For Fixed Facilities that meet the following criteria, please click here for the appropriate plan review application.
  • New Fixed Establishment (Brand new building from ground up.)
  • Remodeling (Major renovations on an existing food establishment. For example, changing the hood or ventilation equipment, add or removing walls, changing facility layout, etc.)
  • Conversion (Taking a building that was not used as a food establishment and creating a food establishment within. For example, a library adding a café inside of it, or a warehouse changed to a brewery.)
For Fixed Facilities that meet the following criteria, please click here for the appropriate plan review application:
  • Remodeling (Minor renovations of an existing food establishment. For example, changing like for like equipment, or fixtures, new countertops.)
  • Change of Ownership
For Special Transitory Food Unit (STFU) & Mobile Facilities, please click here for plan review application:

  STFU – Notification Of Intent To Operate

If an existing food facility changes ownership, then the new owner must make application for a food license before operating.  Food licenses are non-transferable.  The below link is a fillable food license application that can be filled out and brought to the Kent County Health Department along with the fee for change of ownership and food license fee.  Once the application is received with payments a Sanitarian will be assigned to complete the licensing of the establishment with the new owner.  Additional documentation may be required if the new owner is planning a change in menu, equipment, or food operations. 

Temporary Food Facility

A temporary food facility is an operation which operates at a fixed location for a temporary period not to exceed 14 consecutive days. Application for temporary license must be submitted and an on-site audit conducted before a temporary license will be granted and service to the public begins.  Organizations claiming non-profit status must present written documentation.

If operating in the City of Grand Rapids, you will need a Food Vending license from the City Clerk’s Office.
More Information »

Food Safety Education

The Michigan Food Law requires food service establishments to employee a minimum of one managerial employee as a food safety manager. This person must be currently certified under a certification program accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). For a list of ANSI Accredited programs, please see the directory on the ANSI website: ANSI-CFP Accredited Programs

To protect the public from foodborne illnesses, all food service establishment employees need to have a basic training in safe food handling practices.  The below links are resources that can be used by food service establishments to assist in this training.

Understanding Food Service Reports

During food facility audits, Sanitarians complete a Food Service Establishment Inspection Report. Items on the report that have the highest risk for causing a foodborne illness are labeled Critical Violations if the audit was conducted prior to October 1, 2012. If the audit occurred October 1, 2012 or later, the high risk violations are classified as Priority or Priority Foundation Violations. Items with a lower risk of causing a food borne illness are labeled Non-Critical Violations if done prior to October 1, 2012.  After this date, low risk violations are labeled as Core Violations.