Please visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov for information about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Ohio, including latest developments and frequently asked questions.
COVID-19 Guidance for School Food Service Operations
The Ohio Department of Health Food Safety Program has developed COVID-19 Guidance for School Food Service Operations: Protecting Against COVID-19, which provides guidelines for school food service operations to following during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines are based on the requirements of the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code and the Dine Safe Ohio Order. School food service operations should contact the local health department for guidance regarding their facilities.
Responsible RestartOhio and Food Safety
Responsible RestartOhio is about protecting the health of employees, customers, and their families; supporting community efforts to control the spread of the virus; and, leading in responsibly getting Ohio back to work. The Governor's office established the Restaurant Advisory Group to develop standards for the restaurants and retail food establishments to begin to move toward normal operations responsibly. The following operating requirements and guidance were developed based on the work of this advisory group:
Food Safety and COVID-19
Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. Before preparing or eating food, it is important to always wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds for general food safety. Throughout the day, was your hands after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, or going to the bathroom.
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
You should always handle and prepare food safely, including keeping raw meat separate from other foods, refrigerating perishable foods, and cooking meat to the right temperature to kill harmful germs. See CDC’s Food Safety site for more information.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently posted Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic to provide additional guidance for how foods offered at retail can be safely handled and delivered to the public as well as key best practices for employee health, cleaning and sanitizing, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released Shopping for Food During the COVID-19 Pandemic - Information for Consumers to provide guidance on how to shop safely during the pandemic, including how to protect yourself, grocery store workers, and other shoppers.
NEW! - The FDA has posted What to Do If You Have a COVID-19 Confirmed Positive Worker or Workers Who Have Been Exposed to a Confirmed Case of COVID-19 which contains recommended guidelines for facilities to follow if an employee tests positive for COVID-19 or is exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Ohio State University Food Safety Webinars
The Ohio State University Extension Office has released two webinars containing science-based information about COVID-19 and food safety. The recorded webinars can be viewed at the following links:
Food Safety for Producers (1 hour)
Food Safety for Consumers (50 minutes)
Food Safety Program
The Food Safety Program provides technical assistance in all aspects of food safety to local health department staff, the food service industry and the general public. Technical experts are available to provide current information on food safety as it applies to licensable food service operations (e.g., restaurants, vending machine locations, mobile and temporary food service operations). The program:
- Provides technical assistance to local health department staff, food service industry and the public regarding issues related to:
- Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code Chapter 3717-1 of the Ohio Administrative Code.
- Chapter 3717 of the Ohio Revised Code related to food service operations.
- Chapter 3701-21 of the Ohio Administrative Code related to food service operations.
- Provides training programs to local health department staff and the food service industry. These programs cover topics such as plan review, critical control point and standard food service inspections, mobile food service inspections, vending machine inspections and inspection report writing.
- Provides training in food safety to new and prospective sanitarians through the Bureau of Environmental Health's Programs Course.
- Approves courses of study and certifies individuals in food protection certification.
- Provides recall information regarding food products to local health departments and the public.
- Acts as liaison with the Ohio Department of Health’s Epidemiology section and other agencies regarding foodborne disease outbreaks involving food service operations.
- Evaluates the “food service operation programs” of local health districts, using the current Survey Methodology, to determine if boards of health are qualified and have the capacity to administer and enforce the food service operation law and rules.
For complaints on food service operations, contact your local health department. The local health department is the agency who is responsible for licensing and inspecting the food service operations in their jurisdiction. To find the contact information for your local health department, click here.
Ohio Department of Health
Bureau of Environmental Health and Radiation Protection
Food Safety Program
246 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 644-7416