Violations and their Definitions

The State of Iowa utilizes the 2005 FDA Model Food Code. The Food Code provides:

  1. A system of prevention and overlapping safeguards designed to minimize foodborne illness
  2. Ensure employee health, industry manager knowledge, safe food, nontoxic and cleanable equipment, and acceptable levels of sanitation on food establishment premises
  3. Promote fair dealings with the consumer.

Potentially Hazardous Food (PHF) - means a food that is a natural or synthetic and is in a form capable of supporting the rapid and progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms, or the growth and toxin production of clostridium botulinum, "Potentially hazardous food" includes an animal food that is raw or heat-treated, a food of plant origin that is heat-treated or consists of raw seed sprouts, cut melons, and garlic and oil mixtures.

Critical Item - means a provision of this Code that, if in noncompliance, is more likely than other violations to contribute to food contamination, illness, or environmental health hazard. These critical violations are denoted by an asterisk*. Critical violations shall be corrected within 10 day.

Swing Violation - these violations may be critical or non-critical depending and the degree of the problem or the situation. Swing violations are denoted by (S).

All other violations are considered to be non-critical and shall be corrected within 90 days.

The italicized words are only examples of violations that may be found. This is not to be considered as a comprehensive listing of all possible violations.


  • 1. Adequate cooling for cooked/prepared food* Food shall be cooled to 41°F by utilizing approved methods.
  • 2. Cold hold (41° F)* Cold food shall be held at 41°F or below.
  • 3. Hot hold (135° F)* Hot food shall be held at 135° F or above.
  • 4. Adequate cooking temperature for PHF* Food shall be cooked to an adequate temperature.
  • 5. Re-heating to 165° F in 2 hrs* Leftovers shall be reheated to 165°F within 2 hours.


  • 6. Demonstration of knowledge* Person-in-charge shall have knowledge of the Food Code and Regulations as pertains to their facility.
  • 7. Personnel with infections restricted/excluded* Personnel with certain infections shall not be allowed to prepare/serve food.
  • 8. Proper hand washing* Employees shall wash hands only in designated hand sinks for 20 seconds with warm water, utilizing soap and individual towels.
  • 9. Good hygienic practices (smoking/drinking/ eating/misc.)* Employees shall not smoke, drink, eat or engage in acts that could contaminate food.
  • 10. Hair restraints/clean clothes Hair shall be restrained so that is does not move during work. Hair nets are not mandatory. Clothes shall be clean.


  • 11a. Food Protection Food shall be stored in a way that minimizes the possibility of contamination
  • 11b. Labeling (S) Non-Critical-Food labeled in a way that is easily identified on sight Critical-Food labeled in a way that is easily identified on sight
  • 11c. Date marking* Food shall be dated once it is prepared or opened and used within 7 days.
  • 12. Approved source/Sound condition*Food shall be prepared in a licensed facility and in good condition.
  • 13. Handling of "read-to-eat foods" (adequate SOP's, if bare hand contact permitted)* Employees shall minimize bare hand contact with food. A written policy is required which shall contain when hands are to be washed and how handwashing is to be monitored.
  • 14. Cross-contamination protection* Raw meats, poultry, and fish shall be stored and handled so they do not contaminate other foods.
  • 15. Adequate systems (HACCP or time as control)* Foods have been prepared by procedures developed specifically to help minimize the possibility of contamination.


  • 16. Manual washing/sanitizing at (_____ ) ppm/temp.*Dishes shall be sanitized in a 3 compartment sink by using hot water or a chemical at a proper concentration.
  • 17. Mechanical washing/sanitizing at (_____) ppm/temp.* Dishes shall be sanitized in a dish machine by hot water or a chemical at a proper concentration.
  • 18. Adequate warewashing facilities A 3 compartment sink or dish machine shall be installed/maintained in proper working order.


  • 19a. Handwashing facilities: Provided* An adequate number of handwashing sinks shall be installed.
  • 19b. Handwashing facilities: Accessible/soap and towels provided hand sinks shall be accessible at all times. Anti-bacterial soap and individual towels or blow dryers shall be available at each hand sink.
  • 20. Adequate sewage/waste disposal (S) Non-Critical - Establishment shall not dump mop water outside. Critical – Establishment shall not dump mop or greasy water down the prep sink.
  • 21. Safe water source (private supply date tested: ________)* Water shall be safe to use.
  • 22. Hot and cold water under pressure All sinks shall have water under pressure.
  • 23. Back flow/back siphonage protection*- Establishment shall have backflow prevention devices.
  • 24. Plumbing: installed/maintained (S) Non-Critical-All plumbing shall be maintained in good working order. Critical-Hot and/or cold water shall be available at all sinks.


  • 25. Thermometers provided/accurate All refrigeration units shall have thermometers that can easily be seen.
  • 26. Equipment adequate to maintain temperatures* There shall be enough refrigeration/freezers in which to store food.
  • 27. Food contact surfaces (cleaned, designed, maintained, sanitized) (S) Non-Critical-Food contact surfaces shall be clean, smooth, durable, and easy to maintain.
  • 28. Non-food contact surfaces (cleaned, maintained) Non-food contact surfaces shall be clean, smooth, durable, and easy to maintain.
  • 29. Walls, floors, ceiling, lighting Floors, walls, and ceilings are clean and in good repair. Lighting shall be shielded.
  • 30. Ventilation Kitchen and restrooms shall be properly vented.


  • 31. Adequate pest control (S) Non-Critical- There shall be no gaps under the doors or holes in the screens to allow entrance of insects or rodents. Critical- There shall be no live insects or rodents in the facility.
  • 32. Handling/storage/labeling of toxic items (S) Non-Critical – Toxic items (cleaners, pesticides etc) shall be properly handled, stored, and labeled so they do not contaminate food or food contact surfaces. Critical- Toxic items (cleaners, pesticides etc) shall be properly handled, stored, and labeled so they do not contaminate food or food contact surfaces.
  • 33. Consumer advisory posted* If a food service establishment serves undercooked eggs or ground meats a standard statement shall be posted which states that cooking these foods thoroughly reduces the risk of foodborne illness.
  • 34. Premises maintained (outside & inside) Premises shall be kept clean and well maintained.
  • 35. License posted/maintained Food Establishment License shall be conspicuously posted.
  • 36. Smoking area: designated/posted There shall be a designated smoking section if there are over 50 seats.