Enviro~Connections - January 2015

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[January 2015 ]


About Us

Maricopa County Environmental Services provides essential, regional environmental services seeking to prevent and remove environmental health risks. The Department’s Environmental Health Specialists and Field Technicians are in the community every day making sure that among other things, food in all the eating and drinking establishments in the County is protected from contamination, that water supplies throughout the County are safe to drink, and that vector borne health illnesses and risks are minimized. It is our belief that with continued support, future generations will reap the benefits of today’s actions.

Contact Us

Central & Roosevelt

Environmental Services Department

Adminstration Building (Map)
1001 N. Central Ave. Suite 401
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 506-6616

8:00 a.m. - 5:00p.m

Monday thru Friday

(Excluding Holidays



Need assistance en Español or in 中文 for your food related business?


Nuestros representantes o enlaces para negocios hispanos de venta de alimentos están disponibles para asistirles entendiendo las necesidades culturales de su negocio y asistiéndoles en su idioma.


Do you need to make sure that your ethnic foods meet Maricopa County Health Code standards? Our language liaisons are available to assist you!

Chinese Words


Llámenos hoy! Call us today:

(602) 506-3408


MCESD Environmental Health Division Office Locations:

Central Regional Office (Map)
1001 N. Central Ave. Suite 301
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: (602) 506-6272

8:00 a.m. - 5:00p.m.
Monday thru Friday
(Excluding Holidays)

Eastern Regional Office (Map)
1255 W. Baseline Rd. Suite 266
Mesa, AZ 85202
Phone: (480) 820-7655

8:00 a.m. - 5:00p.m.
Monday thru Friday
(Excluding Holidays)

Northern Regional Office (Map)
15023 N. 75th St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Phone: (480) 483-4703

8:00 a.m. - 12:00p.m.
1:00 p.m. - 5:00p.m.
Monday thru Friday
(Excluding Holidays)

Western Regional Office (Map)
16140 N. Arrowhead Fountain Center Dr., Suite #105
Peoria, AZ 85382
Phone: (623) 939-5788

8:00 a.m. - 5:00p.m.
Monday thru Friday
(Excluding Holidays)

Mobile Food Office (Map)
1645 E. Roosevelt
Phoenix, AZ 85006
Phone: (602) 506-6872

8:00 a.m. - 5:00p.m.
Monday thru Friday
(Excluding Holidays)


Need a Food Service Worker Card?

Food Service Worker ID

Visit Maricopa County Environmental Services Department Web site (or Click on Sample Card Image shown above) to obtain all the information you need at your fingertips!.


Stay Connected with ESD


Thank you for staying connected with EnviroConnections by Maricopa County Environmental Services Department.
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Environmental Services Department has new Director

Director Goode

After serving as Deputy Director for two years, Steven Goode has been appointed Director of the Environmental Services Department.

Immediately before coming to ESD, Mr. Goode spent more than 14 years at the Southern Nevada Health District. He is a retired Senior Master Sergeant and served in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Air Force Reserve. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and is working to complete a Master of Arts degree in Management and Leadership.

“The goal of Environmental Services is to strengthen our collaboration with our stakeholders ensuring that Maricopa County receives the best customer service possible”, said director Goode.

For the full announcement regarding Mr. Goode’s appointment, please see here.


Reminders to help you 'get the ball rolling'


By Johnny Diloné, P.I.O., CPM / Bulletin Editor

The clock is ticking for one of the major world events to take place here in the Valley, the Super Bowl 2015! 

Many of you are planning to take advantage of the different business opportunities that this big event will bring to Arizona, primarily, Maricopa County.

If you missed our previous issue of Enviro~Connections or simply need a ‘replay’ to review all the different ways that we may be able to assist you, here are some reminders.   Below you’ll find -once again- those articiles that we prepared with information to help you ‘get in the game’ and ‘play to the whistle’.  Hurry-up and be ready for the kick-off!!

In 'the Game’ for Super Bowl XLIX


By Johnny Diloné, P.I.O., CPM / Bulletin Editor

The Big Game is soon approaching and it’s not too early to start getting all your business needs in order if you’re considering tending to the public by way of food service, public accommodation or any other sort of public service that may require a Maricopa County permit. 

Maricopa County Environmental Services Department (MCESD) is ready to assist you with all the services and information that can help you get your 'team' ready to score high! 

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Is your Establishment Prepared?

Restaurant ready

By Bryan Hare, M.M., R.S. 

As the Super Bowl approaches and 1 million or more individuals will converge on the State to attend it or one of the many other events that will be happening, are your current food service operations adequate? Do you need to expand your operation? Whether it is determining the amount of dry food storage, cold food storage, transportation of food, garbage/ waste pick-up or even code requirements, now is the time to begin planning for these needs and any others.

An increase in customers may change the operational needs of your business so as manager you should consider your establishment’s operational capacity (i.e. do we have what we need to operate during our peak demand?)

Please visit our website at the following link to obtain other valuable information.


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Advance Prep + Storage


By Eric Carlson, REHS/RS, M.S.

Big public events often attract large amounts of people and the customer demand for food is equally great. This high customer demand often forces food establishments to prepare commonly used ingredients well in advance of the actual meal to ensure customers are served in a timely manner.  However, this advance prep must to be done properly to ensure that the food served to customers is safe for consumption.  This advance prep and storage must be done at a permitted food establishment.

This unusually high customer demand sometimes results in food establishments trying new technologies to meet this need.  Vacuum packaging of raw, partially cooked or fully cooked foods, as well as other types of reduced oxygen packaging (ROP) has been used to meet  advance prep and storage needs. These modern technologies have many benefits, but for operators without the proper training and experience, serious health hazards can occur. For this reason and others, these specialized processes usually require formal variance or HACCP Plan approval from the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department. For those fixed establishments that have been previously approved for ROP, this approval does not grant offsite storage and usage.  Contact MCESD at (602) 506-6972 for clarification or if you wish to submit a variance application for a specialized process.  

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Score Big with your Special Events and Mobile Food Operations

Food Trucks-Phx

By Starletta Brown, Mobile Food/Special Events Supervisor 

Super Bowl 2015 will be a very festive and exciting time for the residents of Maricopa County and those visiting the valley from all over the United States and the world. Many people will be exploring ways to participate in the fun and festivities of the Super Bowl, by selling and giving away food.  Many special events will be taking place during Super Bowl week and it is important that anyone interested in selling food or giving away food, even if it is only temporarily know the following facts:

·         A permit is required to sell or give away food or beverages, even if it is only temporarily.

·         The Maricopa County Special Events and Mobile Food Program is responsible for the permitting and inspection food establishments operating in conjunction with Special Events including those associated with the Super Bowl, as well as the mobile food units, pushcarts, and food peddlers that will be operating during Super Bowl  week .

·         All food must be prepared at a permitted restaurant or commissary -no homemade food is allowed.

·         Only vendors who are selling commercially packaged, non- potentially hazardous foods such as candy, bottled water and soda are not required to obtain a permit.

So if you are interested in selling or giving away food please visit to the following sites for more information:

Special Events Program Information

Mobile Food Program

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Tackle Germs


By Paolo Lumadao M.P.H., R.S.

With Super Bowl XLIX looming in the Phoenix area’s horizon come February 1, 2015, the last thing to be concerned about while enjoying the festivities and its abundance of comfort inducing finger foods and tasty beverages during and the day after the big day is the repeated visits to the nearest lavatory while doing the Mambo No. 1 (vomiting) or No. 2 (diarrhea) and possibly, even together in sync. In theory, the chance for foodborne illness increases significantly when there is an increase in potential hosts carrying any of the Big 5 pathogens of Salmonella, E. Coli, Shigella, Hepatitis A and Norovirus. Salmonella and E. Coli can be managed through proper cooking and food handling practices. Shigella is predominantly a daycare setting issue. Historically, Maricopa County has a low prevalence of Hepatitis A largely due to the strength of its herd immunity through vaccination. Nonetheless, symptomatic or diagnosed food handlers must be excluded. But with Norovirus, the food industry and the expected growth in the general population, through tourists enjoying the game under Arizona’s winter, both play a role in its outbreak potential.

To satisfy curiosities regarding Norovirus, the main reason as to why it is highly infective as a pathogen while popular and convenient alcohol based sanitizer gels are generally ineffective against it is because of its non-enveloped viral structure. This structure allows for its particles to survive on any surface for up to two weeks. Simply put, enveloped viruses need their lipid envelopes to reproduce in an infected host. Alcohol in sanitizer gels destroys these envelopes stopping their ability to replicate. Since Norovirus particles don’t have envelopes, it stays virulent even when doused in alcohol. Add to that as low as 10 particles can result to gastrointestinal symptoms, compared to millions needed with Salmonella or E. Coli, and with no established vaccine, Norovirus is a potent pathogen in a public setting.

Web widget

What then is the optimal control for Norovirus? The seemingly low-tech yet cost-effective practice of a proper hand wash before any hand held meal is the prevailing solution. If a hand wash is too inconvenient while watching the game, unorthodox as it may look but using utensils or napkins while eating can provide a barrier to a Norovirus infection. And no, a proper hand wash isn’t washing hands with a spirituous beverage. Scrubbing hands with soap between 10-15 seconds within a 20 second hand wash is the industry standard, the length of a Happy Birthday song and a short investment of time compared to singing along Mambo No.1 and/or No. 2.

For more information, please visit:


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Keep the 'yellow flag' out of your field

Food Poisoning

By Susie Sid, REHS/RS, CPM, CPO

The use of food from numerous unlicensed sources is a growing and concerning problem. 

Dr. Sibelius in a FDA Briefing on the Food Safety Modernization Act said “for too long our efforts to ensure the food we eat is safe haven’t kept pace with the supply food chain that has grown increasingly more complex and now stretches around the world.”

It is estimated 1/6 of our food supplied is imported from more than 150 countries, including 1/5 of fresh vegetables, ½ of the fresh fruit and 80% of our seafood.

The result, as Dr. Sebelius warned, is that the average number of outbreaks from contaminated produce and other foods have grown from 100 a year in the 1990’s to nearly 350 cases a year.

Today one out of six Americans gets sick from foodborne illness each year with 128,000 people ending up in the hospital and 3000 people dying every year.

Some estimate the annual cost of foodborne illness in terms of pain and suffering, reduced productivity, and medical costs are estimated to be $10 - $83 billion dollars.

When planning the acquisition of food items for your business during Super Bowl, it is important to remember that the integrity of the food supply must be upheld in order to prevent food borne illness outbreaks.  You don’t want to risk it!

Keep the yellow flag out of your field!

For more information regarding unapproved sources and compliance Link to:

MCESD Code Compliance (References for Produce)

MCESD Code Compliance (FDA Food Code 2009: Annex 3 - Public Health Reasons / Administrative Guidelines - Chapter 3, Food)


FDA-Import Alerts for a Country/Area

CDC-Centers for Disease Control

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Safe transportation of food

Fight Bac

By Tim Hurst, M.P.H., REHS, R.S.

Two of the Center for Disease Control’s leading causes for foodborne illness outbreaks are improper temperature control of potentially hazardous foods or Time Temperature Control for Food Safety Food (TCS), and contaminated foods. These factors become an even greater concern when foods are being prepared at one location and transported to another location for service such as with a catering type of operation. Additionally, the food is likely to be served to a large group of individuals heightening the risk of a foodborne illness outbreak if the food is improperly handled.

When transporting food to an event there are additional concerns that are easy to overlook if not addressed. For example, placing a container of salad under raw meat could lead to cross contamination and an outbreak resulting in costly litigation for your business. Below is a list of points to consider when transporting foods:

·         Do I have the means to properly transport the food either hot or cold and maintain it out of the temperature danger zone?

·         Do I have the means to maintain proper temperatures on site and reheat the foods if necessary?

·         Can my employees clean their hands properly prior to working with foods and do they have the necessary utensils or gloves to prevent any bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods?

·         Is my transport vehicle or trailer easily cleanable without any carpet or cloth that could gather contaminates that could adulterate the food?

·         Are the vehicles or trailers clean of any potential contaminants that may enter the food prior to being used for transport?

·         Am I storing my foods in such a manner as to prevent potential cross contamination during the transport process? All foods should be stored in the following order bottom to top: raw poultry, beef, seafood, eggs, and any ready-to-eat items including uncut or unwashed produce. If possible, these items should be stored in separate areas of the transport vehicle or trailer.

·         Will my food be protected from environmental contaminates including pests?

·         Are my staff trained on proper loading and unloading procedures that prevent contamination and augment proper temperature control of my food products?

·         Who is monitoring the transport of my food?

·         Is my food secure from potential tampering?

·         Please read the information on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s information on food defense and awareness’s ALERT program.

As one can see, the unanimous answer to all of the above questions should be a resounding “yes.” 

Upset Stomach

Proper temperature control and foods from approved reputable sources are two of the most important aspects of food safety. As a permitted vendor with Maricopa County, you are required to maintain any potentially hazardous or Time Temperature Control for Food Safety Food (TCS)out of the temperature danger zone of 41 Deg. F. to 135 Deg. F. at all times with the exception of food products that are in an active preparation process. Additionally, all food products must be from approved vendors that meet the requirements of Chapter 8 of the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code section 3-201.11 that addresses food sources. The Department frequently finds vendors transporting TCS foods in the temperature danger zone (41 Deg. F. to 135 Deg. F.) and the food often gets discarded resulting in a loss of revenue to the operator. Finally, one of the most important and often overlooked times to inspect your food for proper temperature control and condition is at the point of delivery. No operator should accept any food that is either out of temperature, has originated from a questionable source, or has possibly been mishandled.

Part of the mission of the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department is to assist businesses in providing safe food to the people and guests of Maricopa County so they may enjoy living in a healthy and safe community. Additionally, the Department wants to foster the development of safe food service businesses and this can only be accomplished through a strong partnership with industry towards this common goal.

References: Guidance for Industry Sanitary Transportation of Food.

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What's 'Cooking' Outdoors?


By Michael LaGrow, REHS/RS, CPM 

Everyone loves the aroma of food grilled outside.  Outdoor food operations may include the cooking, grilling, roasting, limited hot/cold holding of prepared foods, or the limited service of foods outside a permitted food establishment. Outdoor food service brings unique hazards to food safety that are not usually found with indoor kitchens, as such, review of the food process and food establishment becomes necessary. Once the kitchen is pulled outdoors, the protection of an enclosed kitchen is gone and environmental contamination from dust, debris and pests become a serious concern. These hazards must be controlled or prevented before the Department will approve outdoor food service. Outdoor food service operations must be conducted in conjunction with the establishment that holds an issued food service permit and a variance (formal written Department approval).  If associated with an event, a Mobile Food Establishment permit may be an option.  To find out more see the links below or contact the Department. 

Outdoor Food Service Variances

Special Events

Mobile Food

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Propane Safety, Don't Fumble!

Propane Gas

Has your propane tank been inspected?

Cylinders are required to be re-qualified, or replaced every 5-12 years depending on type, condition and previous qualifications.

Click here for more information:

Propane Safety Flyer

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Serve it safe!

Food Safety-Crime


Vas Hofer


Food security should always be a cause of concern; as such, it is vital that awareness is raised on this issue.  Intentional acts of contamination impact not only public health, but also have economic and psychological implications.  According to the World Health Organization, “Food is the most vulnerable to intentional contamination by debilitating or lethal agents. The diversity of sources of foods, including the global market, makes prevention difficult, if not impossible. In fact, food offers the perfect vehicle for large-scale terrorist attacks.”  Potential sources of contamination include biological, chemical, and radiological hazards.  As a manager, it is important to plan for the possibility of an intentional malicious act by raising awareness to the issue and having security measures in place.  Strategies should include the following:

·         Know who should and should not be on premises

·         Restrict access to secure areas

·         Train staff in food security procedures

·         Be aware of unusual behavior

·         Inspect shipments for tampering

·         Be aware of suspicious items

·         Secure the physical facility

·         Ensure chemicals are stored properly and accounted for

·         Monitor condiment/buffet stations/etc.

In an effort to increase awareness, it is recommended that the following resources be reviewed:

See Something, Say Something Campaign

Employees First

Guidance For Industry: Retail Food Stores and Food Service Establishments: Food Security Preventive Measures Guidance

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Planning for an Emergency: Food Establishments



Vas Hofer


The best way to protect your business, your staff, and your customers is to plan for the unexpected.   Emergencies at food establishments may include any of the following imminent health hazards: fire, flood, extended interruption of electrical or water service, sewage backup, misuse of poisonous or toxic materials, onset of an apparent foodborne illness outbreak, gross insanitary condition, or other circumstance that may endanger public health.  In accordance with the FDA food code, a permit holder shall immediately discontinue operations and notify the Department if an imminent health hazard may exist and furthermore shall obtain approval from the Department before resuming operations.

Please review the document below to aid you in your planning efforts:

Emergency Action Plan for Retail Food Establishments

Please contact the Department if you have any questions as you develop your plan so you can take a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach should an emergency occur.

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Español or Chinese? Tell Us How to Help You

Chinese-Mexican Restaurant

By Bianca Arriaga, EHS Spanish Liaison

Speak Spanish or Chinese?  We have assistance for you!  Did you know that there are cultural language liaisons that are part of the Environmental Services Department who can assist you in Spanish and Chinese?  Environmental Services Department strides to keep the public at large safe.  We want to work with you to help achieve this GOAL. 

The field of applying for a permit, understanding standard operating procedures and even getting your questions addressed can be overwhelming, especially when language and cultural challenges may be present.  A language liaison can help guide you through the process in the event you have concerns that come up along the way.  Liaisons can provide handouts for you and your employees, and provide explanations regarding procedural steps.  We can provide logs and general information for you as well.  We are available for phone calls for both you and your inspector in the event that any language assistance would be beneficial for you.  For questions or concerns please call (602) 506-3408.

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Hotel Pool Party? Play It Safe

Valley Ho - Phx Pool Party

By Gregory Epperson, R.S., CPM

Is your hotel gearing up for the Super Bowl? Going to throw a pool party? Here are some points from the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code to remember when you’re planning a pool party:

· No glassware in the pool enclosure. This includes glasses (you can use plastic cups), beer bottles and plates.

· No stages or tables right next to the pool. There must be a 4 foot clear walkway around the pool at all times.

· Gates cannot be propped open in any way. Little ones can run right in while no one is paying attention.

· No food or drink while in the pool or within the 4 foot walkway around the pool. Enjoy food and beverages outside of this area.

· Be mindful of the bather load of the pool. Overcrowding depletes the chlorine in the water, which is the main protection against pathogens.

By following the regulations in the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code, you can keep your guests as safe as possible during your Super Bowl events.

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How many toilets are required?

Chemical Toilets

By Alyssa Spradley, R.S.

Whether it’s for the Big Game or any other special occasion, when planning an event, ensure that the plan includes adequate toilet facilities for your guests.  The County Environmental Health Code requires a minimum of 1 toilet per 100 persons in attendance.  Toilets may be water-flushed or chemical type, and must be located within 200 feet of the gathering.

Owners of chemical toilets, temporary toilet facilities and waste holding tanks must have a permit from the Environmental Services Department.  The Department makes random inspections of these facilities to ensure that the owners are complying with permit requirements to maintain the facilities in a clean and sanitary manner.  Make your plan for placement of the facilities to allow unobstructed access for servicing equipment to remove waste during the event.

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“Who you are ‘gonna’ call?”


By Rosie Baldonado, Data Center Staff Supervisor 

‘No hot water?’  ‘Bed bugs in the hotel room?’ ‘Unsanitary conditions in the kitchen’?  Or how about: ‘Vendors with no permits?’  

When you or your customers observe a violation to the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code (MCEHC) it may time not be time ‘to call the game’ but to call Complaints!

The Maricopa County Environmental Services Department’s (MCESD) Data Center Complaint Line assists citizens of Maricopa County with filing concerns/complaints regarding allegations that they have observed so that the Department can conduct an investigation. It also provides general information and refers customers to the proper agency if necessary.

Data Center Mission: To ensure that the Department is in compliance with code mandates through the delivery of quality customer service focusing on consistency, efficiency and effectiveness in order to provide a healthy and safe environment for the residents of Maricopa County.

Complaint Line staff respond to citizen inquires namely mainly via telephone calls from the public for environmental concerns/complaints, e.g. permits, stormwater, vector control, mosquitoes, flies, waste water (septic tanks), solid waste, public/semipublic swimming pools, roaches, bed bugs and food operations/facilities (food handling/foodborne illness).

Complaint Line staff are the initial Department point of contact for many Maricopa County citizens. In 2013, the Complaint Line filed over 32,000 inquires most of which resulted in complaints being filed through our environmental database system. The Department investigates violations of the Maricopa County Environmental Health Code. The ultimate goal is voluntary compliance. The most effective means to achieve this goal is through open communication with the property owner/operator.  In the majority of cases, verbal and written communications are sufficient and violations are corrected in a timely manner.

Complaints can be submitted using several methods:

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Follow Us, Like Us, Watch Us and More!

Maricopa County Environmental Services department is constantly working to make effective use of social media. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, and now also on Pinterest!   

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