The Environmental Health Program is responsible for the inspection of all restaurants and retail markets in La Plata, Archuleta, and San Juan Counties. The Environmental Health staff perform inspections, investigations, and enforce compliance with State laws and regulations. Staff also provide technical expertise and training for the food service industry. The Health Protection Programs also investigate all complaints, reports of food-borne illness, and food related health problems.
Food Safety Services
EH Main Line | 970 335 2052
San Juan Basin Public Health’s Environmental Health program staff work with food facilities by providing both consultations and regulatory inspections. Facilities are inspected per the Colorado Retail Food Codes. Critical violations are those that are more likely to cause a food-borne illness.
One inspection may not represent the overall, long-term food safety practices of a facility. On any given day, a restaurant may have greater or fewer violations than noted in the most recent regulatory inspection.
Retail food establishment inspections are public records, and a copy of an official inspection report may be obtained through an Open Records Request.
What do I do if I want to operate a restaurant, grocery store, or other food outlet?
All food service establishments selling, serving, and preparing food require a State of Colorado Retail Food Establishment License. All facilities being used for such purpose must be inspected and approved by SJBPH Environmental Health staff prior to operation. If interested in starting a retail food establishment or retail food market in Archuleta, La Plata, or San Juan Counties, contact San Juan Basin Public Health for assistance at (970) 335-2052 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A set of plans and specifications must be submitted to the Health Department for review and approval before construction begins.
What do I do if I want to purchase an existing restaurant, grocery store or other food service facility?
If interested in purchasing an existing food service operation, contact the San Juan Basin Public Health’s Environmental Health program for information regarding previous inspections at (970) 335-2052 or email@example.com
Request a change of ownership inspection; this will provide detailed information outlining any changes or remodeling that may be required to bring the facility into compliance with Colorado State Retail Food Establishment Regulations. Since the Regulations have changed over the years, even a restaurant that is currently operating may not meet the current regulations. When there is a change of ownership, or any extensive remodeling, the owner will be required to bring the facility into compliance with the current Regulations.
What fees may be assessed?
The cost of the plan review is $100, due upon submission of the plans and specifications. Plan review time will be billed at the hourly rate of $60 per hour.
What should I do if I get sick eating out?
If you are severely ill or if your symptoms persist, you should contact your physician. In most cases, medical tests must be conducted to confirm the specific cause of the food borne illness. Contact the food service establishment and advise them of your concerns.
Contact San Juan Basin Public Health to file a complaint, or make a written complaint online. The staff will request information detailing the foods consumed, when they were consumed, when symptoms started, if others are ill with similar symptoms, and a 72-hour meal history.
Preventing cross-contamination is one step to help eliminate food-borne illness. Cross-contamination of food is a common factor in the cause of food-borne illness. Foods can become contaminated by microorganisms (bacteria and viruses) from many different sources during the food preparation and storage process.
Cross-contamination is the contamination of a food product from another source. There are three main ways cross-contamination can occur:
- Food to food
- People to food
- Equipment to food
Food can become contaminated by bacteria and/or viruses from other foods. This type of cross-contamination is especially dangerous when raw foods come into contact with cooked foods. Here are some examples of food to food cross-contamination:
- In a refrigerator, meat drippings from raw meat stored on a top shelf might drip onto ready-to-eat vegetables placed on lower shelf.
- Raw chicken placed on a grill touching a steak that is being cooked.
People can also be a source of cross-contamination to foods. Some examples are:
- Handling foods after using the toilet without first properly washing hands.
- Bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, such as drink garnishes.
- Touching raw meats and then preparing vegetables without washing hands between tasks.
- Using an apron to wipe hands between handling different foods, or wiping a counter with a towel and then using it to dry hands.
Equipment to Food
Contamination can also be passed from kitchen equipment and utensils to food. This type of contamination occurs because the equipment or utensils were not properly cleaned and sanitized between each use. Some examples are:
- Using unclean equipment, such as slicers, can openers, and utensils, to prepare food.
- Using a cutting board and the same knife when cutting different types of foods, such as cutting raw chicken followed by salad preparation.
- Storing a cooked product, such as a sauce, in an unsanitized container that previously stored raw meat.
Follow these steps to prevent cross-contamination and reduce hazards to food:
- Wash your hands thoroughly between handling different foods, changing tasks, and after using the toilet.
- Wash and sanitize all equipment and utensils that have come in contact with food.
- Avoid touching your face, skin, and hair or wiping your hands on cleaning cloths or aprons.
- Store foods properly by separating washed or prepared foods from unwashed or raw foods.
Try preparing each type of food at different times, and then clean and sanitize food contact surfaces between each task.
The food service industry offers a wide variety of occupations ranging from restaurants, school cafeterias, mobile food units, and cottage foods. There are several options for you to consider when improving your food handling skills.
The Colorado State University Extension Office also offers courses. For questions or additional information call (970)382-6461 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
San Juan Basin Public Health also provides trainings and educational sessions. Staff host three Food Safety Basic classes, one in each county served. If attended by a manager, these interventions count as one regular retail food establishment inspection every two years.
- Silverton- April
- Pagosa Springs- July
- Durango- January
San Juan Basin Public Health is not licensing vendors for special or temporary events for the 2017 calendar year. Archuleta, La Plata, and San Juan counties have specific rules and regulations that must be followed to ensure the public’s health and safety. Please follow the guidelines for temporary events. It is the responsibility of both the event sponsor and the vendor to ensure that all requirements are met.
Mobile units or food trucks that operate more than 14 non-consecutive days, must obtain a Colorado Retail Food Establishment License.
Food manufacturing and storage includes selling your food to retailers, re-packing, shellfish dealers, salvage operations, and grain storage facilities.
Food that is prepared for human consumption must be made in a licensed and inspected commercial kitchen. Food may not be prepared in a home kitchen for sale to the public. The Colorado Food Manufacturing Regulations must be followed for such a facility. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) regulates wholesale food.
To operate a food truck or other mobile unit it is required to obtain a Colorado Retail Food License and comply with Chapter Nine of the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations. A review and approval of operations and mobile retail food operation plans may be required prior to a license being granted.
A push cart serving only hot coffee, espresso and/or pastries does not need a retail food license, as long as the pastries are not potentially hazardous and the beverages are not iced. Facilities serving cream and milk for coffee and tea are not required to be licensed.