Food Digest - May 2017


May 2017



Food Digest is a quarterly newsletter written by inspectors from your local health department to support and educate Hennepin County food facility owners and managers about food safety as recommended by the Minnesota Food Code 4626.



At special events, coolers are often used to transport and store foods and beverages. As a reminder, only bottled and canned beverages can be stored in ice and the cooler must have a drain so melting ice can easily be drained out. If beer kegs are stored on ice in a barrel or other contraption, that ice does not need to be draining.

All potentially hazardous food can be stored in a cooler with blue ice packs and/or dry ice only as long as the event is less than four hours. If the event is longer than four hours, mechanical refrigeration must be used instead of a cooler.

Remember to keep all coolers (and any other food/utensil storage) at least 6 inches off the ground.

Reminder: all short-term events need to be licensed. To apply for a license from Hennepin County Health Department, visit our website.

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We welcome comments or ideas about our newsletter. 

Hannah Marschinke

Retirement announcements from 2016


Pam Foster retired in October after being with the county for over 20 years. As a senior environmentalist, Pam worked on plan review and HACCP applications as well as conducting food, pool and lodging inspections.

Steve Bray retired in September after being with the county for over 20 years. As a senior environmentalist, Steve worked in the septic program along with conducting food, pool and lodging inspections and doing plan review.

They will both be missed and we wish them the best in retirement.

Requirements for serving raw and undercooked fish



If a restaurant serves raw or undercooked (less then 145F) fish the restaurant operator must provide proof that the fish has been frozen for parasite destruction according to MN Food Code 4626.0350. Some species of fish carry parasites which may be harmful to humans if consumed. Freezing is a method of killing the parasites before serving the fish to the consumer. Hennepin County health inspectors will review the records of parasite destruction during the restaurant inspection process.

Fish may be frozen for parasite destruction in the following manner:

(1)    -20 degrees C (-4 degrees F) or below for 168 hours (seven days) in a freezer; or

(2)  -35 degrees C (-31 degrees F) or below for 15 hours in a blast freezer.

If the operator freezes the fish on-site, very specific records must be kept. If raw, raw-marinated, partially cooked, or marinated partially cooked fish are served or sold in ready-to-eat form, the person in charge shall record the freezing temperature and time to which the fish are subjected and shall retain the records at the food establishment for 90 calendar days beyond the time of service or sale of the fish.

If the restaurant purchases its fish frozen from a supplier, a letter of guarantee must be provided which states that the fish provided by the supplier is frozen according to the MN Food Code requirements above. Below is the information which must be included in the parasite destruction letter from the supplier:

1.       Name and address of the establishment

2.       Name and address of the supplier

3.       All species of fish that are frozen for parasite destruction and provided to the establishment

4.       Exact temperature to which the fish specified in (3) above are frozen

5.       The length of time for which the fish specified in (3) above are frozen at the temperature specified in (4) above

6.       Contact name and phone number for person in charge of parasite destruction operations at the supplier

7.       Signature of contact person listed in (6) above

There are some species of fish that are exempt from the parasite destruction requirement. If the fish are tuna of the species Thunnus alalunga, Thunnus albacares (Yellowfin tuna), Thunnus atlanticus, Thunnus maccoyii (Bluefin tuna, Southern), Thunnus obesus (Bigeye tuna), or Thunnus thynnus (Bluefin tuna, Northern), the fish may be served or sold in a raw, raw-marinated, or partially cooked ready-to-eat form without freezing.

For freezing fish on-site for parasitic destruction purposes, review the requirements in MN Food Code 4626 and contact your area inspector for questions.


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Ordinance reminder - posting licenses

license new

As stated in Section 4 from Hennepin County Ordinance 3, a valid food license must be located on-site and posted so that it can easily be seen by the public. If you have an expired or missing license or have any questions about licensing, please call our main office at 612-543-5200.

Hennepin County Ordinance 3



4.5 Transfer and Display of License. Only a person who complies with the requirements of this Ordinance shall be entitled to hold a license. A license shall not be transferable as to person or place. A valid license shall be located onsite and posted so that it is clearly visible to the public.

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Web resources

Visit for information on:

  • General environmental health
  • Basic food safety classes
  • Temporary food stand licensing
  • Food license information, categories, and fee schedule
  • New construction or remodeling application

Radon information and test kits 

Septic system requirements and procedures

Body art licensing information (tattooing and piercing) 

Beaches in Hennepin County

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