Food Establishment Guidelines, Inspections And Safety

Food Establishment Inspections

The New Jersey State Retail Food Code requires that the local health authority inspect every retail food establishment as often as it deems necessary. The Health Inspector conducts an unannounced complete inspection at least once per year with follow up inspections to ensure that corrected action was taken. During site inspections, the Inspector ensures that food employees are applying safe handling procedures. 

Immediately after the inspection is concluded, the Inspector issues a placard identifying the establishment to be one of the following: 

Satisfactory - The establishment was found to be operating in substantial compliance with the food handling code. 

Conditionally Satisfactory - The establishment was found not to be operating in substantial compliance with the food handling code. Due to the nature of the violations, a re-inspection will be conducted. As per borough ordinance #111-12, owners of any food establishment issued a conditional satisfactory rating based on the Food borne Illness Risk Factors and Interventions checklist (issued at the time of inspection) are required to submit a $100 re-inspection fee for the first re-inspection and $150 for each subsequent re-inspection necessary until a Satisfactory rating is issued. 

Unsatisfactory - The establishment was found to have one (1) or more violations that constitute gross unsanitary or unsafe conditions. The Inspector will immediately ask the management to voluntarily cease operation until the unsatisfactory conditions no longer exist.

Food Handler Classes

Food handlers employed in Fair Lawn are required to attend a food handlers class in food safety within 60 days of employment and at least once every 3 years. Food Handlers working in Fair Lawn are required to provide a certificate issued within the last 3 years. 

Follow this link for the Food Handlers Class Sign Ups

Food Handler Managers Certificate: 

Fair Lawn Borough Ordinance No. 2264-2013 requires all Risk Type 2, 3, and 4 food establishments to have at least one person on the premises at all times while open for business or preparation of food that holds a current Food Protection Manager certificate approved by the New Jersey Department of Health such as the ones listed below:

New Jersey Accredited Food Protection Manager Organizations:

If you have any questions please email or call Tom Bailey at 201-794-5359.

Smoke Free Restaurants

As of April 15, 2006, all restaurants as well as all other workplaces in New Jersey, except Atlantic City Casinos, are required by law to be smoke-free environments. If you are exposed to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) in Fair Lawn, whether it be at work or in a restaurant and wish to register a complaint, call (201) 794-5327 to speak with the environmental health specialist. Health officials will enforce existing laws where they apply and where laws are insufficient, assistance to resolve the problem will be provided.


  • New or Change of Ownership of Food Establishments, including Pre-op inspection: $295
  • New or Change of Ownership of Pre-packaged foods, including Pre-op inspection: $225

Temporary food vendor's permits

  • Temporary Food Vendors (Food Carts, Food Booths, Farmers Market): $125/day or $175 annually 
  • Temporary food establishment kitchen: $100/event
  • Pre-packaged non-potentially hazardous foods: $75/day or $100/annually 

Service Animal Guidelines for Businesses

Information about allowing Service Animals into your establishment and your legal rights as a Business Owner can be found in the following document Service Animal Guidelines. Do not hesitate to contact the Health Department for further clarification. 

Food Safety During a Power Outage

The loss of power could jeopardize the safety of your food. Knowing how to determine how to keep food safe will help minimize the potential loss of food and reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

  • Keep the freezer door closed. Keep what cold air you have inside. Don’t open the door any more than is necessary. A full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures approximately two days and a half full freezer about one day. If the freezer is not full, group packages together so they form an “igloo” to protect each other.
  • If you think power will be out for several days, try to find dry ice. Look under “ice” or “dry ice” in the phone book. It takes twenty-five pounds of dry ice to keep a ten cubic foot freezer full of food safe for three to four days. Dry ice can be used in the refrigerator, but block ice is better.
  • Dry ice must be handled with caution and in a well ventilated area. Don’t touch it with bare hands; wear gloves or use tongs.
  • Even if food has started to thaw, some foods can be safely kept. The foods in the freezer that partially or completely thaw before power is restored may be safely refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at forty degrees Fahrenheit or below. Evaluate each item separately. Be very careful with meat and poultry products or any food containing milk, cream, sour cream or soft cheese. Never taste the food to determine its safety. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • In general, refrigerated items should be safe as long as power is out no more than four hours. Keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible. Discard perishable foods (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been above forty degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more. Discard any item that has an unusual odor, color, texture or feels warm to the touch.
  • The key to determining the safety of foods in the refrigerator and freezer is knowing how cold they are. The refrigerator temperature should be forty degrees Fahrenheit or below. The freezer temperature should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below.