Food Digest - November 2017


November 2017



Food Digest is a quarterly newsletter written by inspectors from Hennepin County Public Health Department. It is meant to support and educate Hennepin County licensed food establishment owners and operators utilizing the Minnesota Food Code and Hennepin County’s Ordinance 3: Food Protection.

Keep pumpkin pies refrigerated

pumpkin pie

With Thanksgiving approaching there will be many pumpkin pies served at events and in restaurants. As a reminder, pumpkin pies are considered potentially hazardous due to the higher water activity in the pie (even after being baked). These pies need to be kept at 41°F or below during storage and service. Some other examples of fillings that are considered potentially hazardous include squash, custard, and cheesecake.

For those fall and winter farmers’ markets and community events, pumpkin pies are one of the items that are not approved to be sold by a Cottage Food producer (one who is registered with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and allowed to cook/prepare non-potentially hazardous food out of their home and sell at farmers’ markets or community events). A special event license would be needed to sell potentially hazardous foods (that are either store bought or made in a licensed commercial kitchen). Our short-term food license can be found on our website under “Short-term food event licensing”. 

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Hannah Marschinke

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Fall is here - get ready for 2018 license invoices

fall 2

As 2017 is coming to an end, be on the lookout for the next licensing year’s license invoice arriving mid-December. Our "licensing year" is different from the calendar year - the upcoming licensing year is from 2/1/2018 - 1/31/2019.  The invoice will be sent to the owner address on file and not to the licensed establishment. Late fees will be assessed in accordance with the late fee schedule if the license fee(s) is not paid by the due date.

Keep in mind:

  • Licenses are not transferable to another person or place and they must be posted conspicuously in public view in the licensed establishment. The license from Hennepin County Public Health Department always has a colored border – the color for the current licensing year is blue. The color for the next licensing year starting on 2/1/2018 will be black. Vending machines also need to be licensed and should have a sticker affixed to the upper left corner of the vending machine from Hennepin County in the same color as the license. If you have vending machines but they're missing a sticker or it's a different year's color, you can find our vending application on our website under "General forms and information." Machines with bottled or canned soft drinks and/or prepackaged candy or nuts do not need a license (this exclusion from licensing comes from the Agriculture Minnesota Statutes Chapter 28A, Section 28A.15).
  • If there is a change of ownership an application must be filled out, sent to our office, and approved before the new owner takes possession. Once again, licenses are not transferable. Once submitted, an inspector will review the application and approve or deny it. If approved, an invoice and license application will be sent to the new owner. That change of ownership application can be found on our website under “General forms and information."
  • If you want to make changes to a current, proposed or previously licensed establishment, a plan review is required. This could include, but is not limited to, menu changes, equipment being added, more seating being added, remodeling, etc. The changes that occur could alter the level of licensing (low, medium, or high risk). The plan review application can be found on our website under “Plan review and HACCP."

If there are any questions about licensing, plan review, or change of ownership please feel free to call our office at 612-543-5200.

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Hennepin County food ordinance reminder - using time as a public health control for food


Hennepin County Food Protection Ordinance 3 lists requirements (that are in addition or an expansion to the Minnesota Food Code 4626 rules) that pertain to licensed food establishments within Hennepin County Health Department's jurisdiction.

The spotlight from the food ordinance that we are featuring this quarter is time used only (instead of time in conjunction with temperature) as a public health control for safety of potentially hazardous foods.

Hennepin County Ordinance 3, Section 7, C. expands on the Minnesota Food Code part 4626.0410, Sub. 2 (regarding notification) by requiring the written notification to be approved before implemented:

Hennepin County Ordinance 3, Section 7, C.Minnesota Rules, Chapter 4626.0410 TIME AS PUBLIC HEALTH CONTROL, Subpart 2. Notification. The food establishment licensee must submit written notification to the Health Authority of his/her intention to use the procedures provided under this part and receive approval from the Health Authority prior to implementing the provisions of this part.

If a licensed food establishment would like to keep food out of mechanical temperature control (refrigerators and hot holding units) a written procedure (application) must be submitted to Hennepin County Health Department and then approved prior to implementing the process as stated in Hennepin County Ordinance 3, Section 7, C. *Special note: the requirement to have the process actually approved depends on the restaurant's jurisdiction. Not all health departments require approval but Hennepin County does as it is a part of the food ordinance discussed previously. The application can be found on our website under “Plan review and HACCP."

This method uses only time to keep potentially hazardous foods safe (called Time as Public Health Control). Storing potentially hazardous food on ice out of mechanical refrigeration would require a time as public health control plan to be in place. If the application is approved the following items must be documented and kept on record (if any of these are not being followed, the approval will be revoked):

  • Cooling methods
  • Reheating methods
  • Time as control log sheet
  • The time and temperature the food was taken out of mechanical control
  • The time in which items were discarded or completely used up (cannot exceed four hours)

Food cannot be returned to a cooler or a warmer once it is part of a time as control plan.


Some examples of when you might use a time as control plan are: buffet items, sample items, garnishes, a working supply of shell eggs or waffle batter during breakfast, etc. Something to remember: when at all possible, the use of mechanical refrigeration or hot holding is always the preferred method for keeping foods cold or hot.

Visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s website for more information and requirements on this method of food storage.

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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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