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Food Facility Inspection Terminology



This is usually an unannounced, routine inspection by an Environmental Health Specialist. All food facilities are inspected at least once per year. Facilities where food is prepared may be inspected more often, depending on their category.

Inspections may also be made as a result of a complaint, suspected foodborne illness or emergency, such as a fire, and to approve the construction of new facilities.


Following an inspection, reinspections are conducted to assure compliance with certain violations. However, some violations noted during an inspection may not warrant a reinspection; they are checked on the next routine inspection.

Suspend/Revoke Permit

A permit may be suspended if any immediate danger to the public health or safety is found during an inspection or reinspection, unless the danger is immediately corrected. Examples of immediate danger include: lack of water, sewage back-up or inadequate refrigeration.

A permit may also be suspended or revoked for repeated serious violations of the California Retail Food Code (CalCode).

Refer to the inspection or reinspection on the same day for violations that led to the suspension or revocation.

Reinstate permit

A permit may be reinstated when the facility has been reinspected and the violations that led to the suspension or revocation have been corrected.

Major Violation

A violation of the CalCode that may pose an imminent health hazard and warrants immediate closure or other corrective action.

Minor Violation

A violation of the CalCode that does not pose an imminent health hazard, but does warrant correction.

Other Inspection Related Terminology

The CalCode contains an extensive list of definitions for related terminology. Chapter 2, commencing with section 113728 and ending with section 113941 contain words and phrases found in inspection observations and are in alphabetical order.