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Foods

MISSION STATEMENT:
To implement and enforce the sanitation and quality standards relative to the food industry through service, education, and regulation.

The purpose of the Nebraska Pure Food Act and the Nebraska Food Code is to safeguard the public health and provide to consumers, food that is safe, unadulterated, and honestly prepared. In 2016, the Nebraska Legislature passed legislation, effective July 21, 2016, to adopt the 2013 Food Code Recommendations of the United States Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration. The Food Code is based on scientifically developed factors focusing on public health and the prevention of foodborne illness.

Through time, the Department has developed a joint state and local inspection program. NDA has entered into contracts with three city/county health departments to perform food inspections in their representative jurisdictions. The Department's 14 environmental health specialists cover the remainder of the state.

Inspection Frequency
The Food Code requires that all food establishments be inspected at least once every six months, or according to a risk-based inspection process. Under the risk-based inspection process, restaurants that prepare-cool-reheat potentially hazardous foods are inspected more frequently than convenience stores that sell only prepackaged food items. Establishments that handle only pre-packaged foods may be inspected at less frequency.

Types of Inspections
In addition to routine inspections, four additional inspections may occur at food establishments.

  • All new food establishments must submit copies of the building plans for review and approval. During a pre-inspection, the building plans and actual facility are checked for kitchen design, handwashing and warewashing facilities, restrooms, plumbing, and other physical aspects of the establishment.
  • All complaints received by NDA are investigated during a "complaint" inspection.
  • If violations are found during a routine or complaint inspection that require additional correction, a follow-up inspection is conducted. If "critical violations" are found during any inspection, the sanitarian will issue a compliance date that may range from immediately to a day or more.
  • If a foodborne illness is actually confirmed through medical or laboratory testing, the appropriate inspection staff will conduct a specific "foodborne illness investigation."

Types of Violations
During an inspection, sanitarians verify that the food establishment is in compliance with applicable rules and regulations pertaining to the type of licensed establishment. The inspection report will indicate whether the establishment is "in compliance (IN)" or "out of compliance (OUT)" with the requirement. Additional comments on the inspection report will indicate whether the specific requirements were "not observed (NO)" by the inspector or "not applicable (NA)" to the licensed food establishment.

Inspection Reports
Any inspection report is a “snapshot” of the day and time of the inspection. On any given day, an establishment could have more or fewer violations than noted here. The inspection results may not be representative of the overall food safety of an establishment. At the time of the inspection, violations are recorded but are often corrected on-the-spot prior to the inspector leaving the establishment.

Information regarding establishment inspections, definitions, and violations cited with short violation descriptions are available to view here.

Nebraska Pure Food Act §81-2,280 Registration
LB 304 of 2019 amended the Nebraska Pure Food Act which is administered by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA). For sales which are not at a Farmers Market, as of September 1, 2019, a person may prepare and sell food that is NOT Time/Temperature Control for Safety Food directly to the consumer at a public event or for pick up or delivery without obtaining a food establishment permit so long as the person preparing and selling the food (producer) complies with the following:

  1. The producer registers with NDA on this site (click here) and includes all required information;
  2. The consumer must be visibly notified that the food was prepared in a kitchen that is NOT subject to regulation and inspection and the food may contain allergens;
  3. The name and address of the producer is on the package or container label;
  4. The food is delivered in person or by direct delivery to the actual consumer (the food cannot be sold at wholesale);
  5. The producer complies with food safety guidelines required by the county, city or village for sale at public events;
  6. The producer has completed an accredited food safety course; and
  7. If the producer is using private well water, the well water must be tested for nitrates and bacteria.

For sales at a Farmers Market, a producer is not required to register with NDA and is not required to complete a food safety course. The producer is, however, required to comply with paragraphs 2 through 5 and paragraph 7 above.

List of registered cottage food producers (September 16, 2019)


Application / Area Inspectors

Resources

Laws & Regulations - view the Nebraska Pure Food Act, the Food Code, the Graded Egg Act, and the Food Processing Plant requirements

Inspection Reports

Nebraska Pure Food Act §81-2,280 Registration

Online Payment for Food Establishment Inspection Fee

FDA Recall Website

USDA Recall Website