Food Safety and Sanitation Program
Temporary Food Service at NIH Sanctioned Events
Food Safety Consultations for Non-NIH Sanctioned Events
Food Safety Inspection Results
Off-Campus Food Service
Food Safety and/or Suspected Illness Complaints
Food Safety Education Videos
The Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) Food Safety Program provides periodic comprehensive environmental hygiene inspections of the Clinical Center Nutrition Kitchen and all NIH supported cafeterias and concession stands (on and off campus). These inspections are conducted by food safety professionals in accordance with the most recent edition of the U.S. Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration, Food Code. Inspections include examination and evaluation of:
Food service facility premises (physical structure)
Food production and temperatures
Personnel health and hygiene practices
Food and utensil storage and handling
Solid and liquid waste disposal
Pest management protocols
In addition to food service facility inspections, the Community Health Branch (CHB) Food Safety Program Manager conducts: food service facility plan reviews, enforcement procedures, food borne illness/adulterated food investigations, temporary food service inspections and consultative sessions relating to food safety and public health sanitation.
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Any organization planning an event that will consist of preparing and/or serving food for sale to the NIH general population outside an approved food preparation/service must obtain prior approval. Temporary food events held on the NIH campus are approved on a case by case basis by the Division of Occupational Health and Safety (DOHS) and/or the Division of Amenities and Transportation Services (DATS).
There are numerous permanent onsite cafeterias and concessions available that are operated in accordance with NIH policy and the 2013 FDA Food Code; therefore, a request for temporary food operations on the NIH Main Campus must be fully substantiated by meeting one or more of the following criteria: 1) A fundraiser for charitable organization(s), or; 2) A cultural awareness event held by a NIH related organization or association (for example: Caribbean Festival, Asian & Pacific Islander American Observance Fair, etc.), or; 3) To ensure an adequate food supply if permanent onsite cafeterias and concessions do not have the capacity to support the planned event. Any event that does not meet criteria 1 or 2 must be vetted by DATS prior to completing a temporary food event application to ensure compliance with federal regulations. Contact DATS for vetting at least 45 days before the scheduled event by calling (301) 402-8180.
After obtaining approval through DATS (if applicable) the organizer should contact the CHB 21 days prior to the event. The organization will be provided with a copy of the guide “NIH Temporary Food Service Requirements” and a copy of the “Temporary Food Service Plan.” The Temporary Food Service Plan should be completed and returned to the CHB for review and approval at least 14 days prior to the event. The food service plan includes the following information:
Location of event
Food storage before and at the event site
Equipment and personnel that will be used to adequately protect, store, cook, serve, and maintain hot/cold temperatures
Personal hygiene protocols
The CHB Food Safety Program Manager will contact the sponsoring organization’s representatives to ensure that all public health requirements are met and proper food safety practices are used. A mandatory inspection of the temporary food service operation will be performed on the day of the event (any deficiencies must be corrected in a timely manner). Food services will be suspended if deficiencies are deemed to create an immediate and/or substantial danger to public health.
Please contact the Food Safety Program Manager at (301) 496-2346 if you have further questions.
The CHB Food Safety Program Manager can provide consultative services to those who are planning an event where food is served. Recommendations on planning, equipment, menu selection, vendor or catering review and overall sanitation at the event can be provided. All consult requests should be submitted preferably not later than 14 workdays prior to the event, to ensure proper review time.
Food safety inspection reports and other public health consultations are furnished to the Office of Research Services (ORS), Division of Amenities and Travel Services (DATS), Food Service Program. Requests for inspection results should be forwarded to the CHB Food Safety Program Manager.
Many off-campus facilities have contract food vendors that are not supported by NIH. All NIH supported facilities are clearly marked with signage that indicates the services are provided by the Division of Amenities and Transportation Services (DATS). All other food facilities are subject to the local public health system. The CHB Food Safety Program Manager can provide information for contacting the local health department to report concerns over non-NIH supported food operations.
The DOHS is the lead organization in the investigation of food safety and sanitation related matters that can affect the health of employees, patients, and visitors; this includes possible food borne illnesses and food that may be contaminated or otherwise unfit for human consumption.
Persons suspecting they have become ill after consuming something from an NIH facility should report IMMEDIATELY to Occupational Medical Services Office (OMS), Bldg. 10, Room 6C306, for evaluation. The OMS will notify the CHB, which may initiate a food borne illness investigation including employee interviews, facility inspections, laboratory analysis of food, etc.
Persons with concerns regarding alleged spoiled, adulterated, contaminated food, or a facility sanitation issue, should contact the CHB. The CHB will conduct an interview to assess the situation and inspect the facility as needed.
To contact the CHB regarding a food safety complaint or a suspect illness email or call 301-496-4294.
All non-safety related complaints and questions about NIH supported food service should be forwarded to the Division of Amenities and Transportation Services (DATS) Food Service Program Manager at (301) 402-8180.
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