King Vic’s Health Inspector Food Network

Are you a fan of the Food Network? They recently launched a show by the name of Health Inspector’s. It airs Friday nights at 10:30 pm Eastern. The premise of the show is to send in a restaurant professional to help restaurants key in on potential critical violations prior to a health inspection.

Not for the faint of heart, the show points out some serious issues in regards to health and safety.

Billy Strawter, Sr. was recently featured on an episode of the show titled “A Game of Chicken” as a health inspection consultant. His role was to inspect the restaurant to make sure they had fixed all of the issues pointed out by the shows host.

This is a service that Michigan Food Consultant / EnviCare  Inc offers to all of our clients. If you’ve been shut down due to critical violations or a failed health inspection, we can help you pin point areas that need fixing. The goal is to put you in a position to succeed.

If you have any question about how our service works, please contact us at 989-798-6993.


FAQ: Selling drinks at temporary events Macomb County Michigan

Do you need a permit for selling drinks at a temporary event in Macomb County Michigan?  The answer is yes.

Other than a few exceptions, food is considered anything that can be consumed by humans.  This includes beverages and ice.

Even if you are giving away food and beverages you are still required to have food license in Macomb County.

If you require a food license, you can contact your local health department in Macomb County.

You can always contact the Macomb County Health Department with additional questions at 586-469-5236.


Michigan Laws for Non-Profit Bake Sales

A frequent question asked is “Do we need to have a food license to hold a bake sale for our non-profit?”.

The answer is no.  The Food Law of 200 established a new license exemption that affects charitable, religious, fraternal, and other non-profit organizations.

Part of the licensing exemptions covers:

Bake sales or potlucks run by a charitable, religious, fraternal or other non-profit organization and serving only home-prepared goods

This means that your non-profit bake sales is exempt from needing a food license.

Since the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) has the right to determine if you require a license if you feel you fall outside of these guidelines, it’s best to check if you are exempt.

If you have questions, drop them in the comment section or shoot us an email bjr[at]envicareinc.com


ServSafe Class Cost

The cost of a ServSafe class varies depending on the who (teacher, organization) providing the class.

Average prices range between $125 to $250 dollars.

Before registering for a class it’s important to look at the fine details.  Does it include a ServSafe book? Is the exam included? Is lunch provided?  Is it a 1 day or 2 day class?

Be sure to ask questions before registering for your ServSafe class.  Some teachers simply put in a DVD for the day.

Our prices are as follows:

Exam only $80 dollars

Class and Exam (no book) $130

Class, Exam and book $180

Another option is to take the online ServSafe class ($125) then join a class at the end of the day for the exam.

If you have questions about ServSafe class cost contact us at 989.839.9177, we provide monthly classes in Midland, Saginaw, and Metro-Detroit.


Should Food Safety be Mandatory for Every Staff Member

There is no doubt that food safety is critical.  With Michigan requiring that you only need one certified food safety manager, is that enough?

During a recent food safety managers class an interesting discussion took place regarding that question.

The students who were restaurant employees mentioned their concern with taking time off for certification.  The owners talked about the issue of cost.  Both told stories about the struggle to consistently implement standard food safety procedures.

Two examples brought up:

  1. Employees touching money were not washing their hands
  2. Employee touching their face or hair and not washing their hands
  3. Employee has the start of a cold/virus coming in to work

As a restaurant manager or owner, how do you combat this?  If the certified manager isn’t there, who reminds the employees to follow the basics?

It was agreed that the signs regarding food safety did little to remind. After a while it’s just a piece of paper on a wall.

A great suggestion was implementing a regular training for employees (of course WE like that idea).  This is a simple way to make sure your employees are on board.  The next step is key.

KEEP IT SHORT.  Do you like sitting i n 2 hour meetings? Neither do your employees.  Some ideas to keep it simple:

  • Food safety training every other month
  • Train non-management employees to train on food safety
  • Keep it down to the basics. Focus on key critical areas
  • No longer than 20 -30 minutes
  • Give incentives to those employees that teach

By empowering non-management employees to teach the class, you are creating advocates to make sure you plan is implemented.

How are you insuring food safety is a priority at your place of business?


Does Michigan Need a Rating Systems for Restaurants?

New York City has a rating system for restaurants.  They are required to post their grades outside their establishment for all to see.  Allegheny County in Pennsylvania has recently established a new rating system for restaurant cleanliness (source).   Is Michigan far behind?

In New York City many of the restaurateurs are complaining about the letter grade system not only because the the grades are posted clearly on their establishment, but because it allows the city the opportunity to give out more fines.  If a restaurant has a letter grade below A, they can expect on average, three inspections per year versus just one.  Of course with each inspection comes the increased likelihood of a fines and violations.

Certainly there are benefits to having a grading/rating system for restaurants.  If a restaurant has a B or C grade, they may see a dip in business.  A patron is more likely to visit an A rated facility.  This gives incentive to the restaurants to strive for cleanliness in order to receive an A grade.  However anytime politics is involved there are unintended consequences:

The new regulations include 14 pages and 27 additional pages of amendments.  Sounds like an absolute nightmare.

Currently in the State of Michigan you can find the inspection reports of a given restaurant on a county website.  Not all counties are posting reports.

But with sites like Yelp, which is managed by the community at large, providing reviews on local establishments, is it even necessary for the State to incur additional expenses to roll out a grading system?

As a restaurant owner or patron do you see a benefit to having a grading system for restaurants?

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Personal Chef Food License Needed?

As a personal chef at home business (arrangements have been made to cook in homes) you are not required to be licensed with the State of Michigan.  You would require a license if you are selling a product.

Business Tip:

Consider purchasing liability insurance or consider being bonded before starting a Personal Chef/Chef at Home business.


Is a Food License Required for Caterers?

Great question.  Our answer will focus specifically on the State of Michigan.  If you reside outside of Michigan a good resource would be your State government website.

The simplest answer is that it may depends on your local health department.  Each county may have different laws and licensing requirements when it comes to caterers.

Per the State of Michigan website:

The facility (kitchen) where food is prepared should be licensed as a Food Service Establishment…Contact the Department of Agriculture, Food Division, Food Service Section (517) 373-1060 for inspections

If you are a caterer cooking in your own home, generally it will not meet the regulations for a license.

Business Tip: Starting a catering business and food safety

Consider renting space at a kitchen that is already licensed. Think church, halls, rental halls.  This is great biz move especially until cash flow warrants a permanent location.

If the facility is licensed but does not want to accept the liability, you may get a sepatate fixed or temporary license application for the same facility by listing your company or catering cook as the responsible party.


3 Types of Hazards to Food – HACCP

If you’re involved in the restaurant business or food handling, chances are you’ve heard of HACCP. Just in case, covering all bases, HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points.

HACCP is a process that was designed to prevent hazards in foodservice facilities. The goal is to control the most critical areas in food production to make sure that food is safe for all.

The 3 types of hazards to food or the three major types of hazards that are considered in a HACCP plan include:

  • Biological Hazards
  • Chemical Hazards
  • Physical Hazards

Keep in mind that the hazards listed in a HACCP plan refer only to ones that cause direct illness or injuries.

Do you have questions about the 3 major types of hazards?  Comment below for an answer.


Food License Exemptions

As with any business it’s important to do your research to ensure that it isn’t subject to license requirements.

Below is a list of those who do not require a food establishment license. It’s important to remember that while a license is not necessary, you are still subject to inspections by the Michigan Deparment of Agriculture or other local agencies. We always recommend calling the MDA for verification as to if you are exempt from the license requirements.

  • Produce stands selling only whole, uncut, fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Bake sales or potlucks run by a charitable, religious, fraternal or other non-profit organization and serving only home-prepared foods.
  • Non-profit cooperatives.
  • Retail honey and maple syrup outlets (for honey and maple syrup sold by a licensed producer).
  • Vending machines dispensing only packaged soft drinks or candy.
  • Fishing guide service serving lunch to 12 clients or less.
  • Temporary establishments with no food preparation using single-service articles and serving only non-potentially hazardous food or beverage. Examples include beer tents, soft drink stands, or snack bars at school sporting events.
  • A temporary, satellite, serving location of a licensed food service establishment where no food is prepared, and food is served by the employees.
  • Retail businesses selling only pre-packaged, non-potentially hazardous foods in incidental amounts.
  • Some firms licensed under other, specific dairy or agricultural acts.
  • Certain bed and breakfast operations.

To contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture ( MDA ) directly you may call their customer service line here:  1-800-292-3939.