Residents and visitors have thousands of places to choose from when they want to eat out in Westchester.
Restaurants, cafes and other eateries that prepare food on site receive regular inspections by the health department to help ensure that your meal is prepared and cooked safely. So whether you plan to dine out at a restaurant, grab a quick bite from a hot dog truck or a fast food chain, or have your child buy lunch at your school cafeteria, we’ve got you covered.
Health inspectors, who are known as sanitarians, ensure that safeguards are in place to protect food from contamination, both by the people who handle the food as well as from other sources. During a visit, health inspectors look to see that employees regularly wash their hands in a sink that has soap, hot water and paper towels; that utensils and surfaces that come in contact with raw meat are not used to prepare ready-to-eat foods; that foods are kept at the appropriate temperature and that rodents and other pests are not present.
View Inspection Reports Online
Health inspectors prepare a written report whenever they inspect a food service establishment. These inspection reports can be viewed online at New York State Department of Health/Health Data. Within the reports, there are sections available for the inspector to list critical and non-critical violations.
It’s helpful to know:
- A Critical Violation is a violation that relates directly to factors which may lead to food borne illness.
- A Non-Critical Violation is a violation that relates to maintenance and cleanliness of food Service operations.
Food service establishments that are considered high-risk are generally inspected twice a year. High-risk establishments are full service, dine-in restaurants that prepare and cook large quantities of raw food on site. Establishments that are considered medium-risk and low-risk are inspected once annually. Medium-risk establishments are those that serve mostly commercially prepared food and are typically fast food chain restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King. Low-risk establishments are those that have limited or no food preparation on site, like ice cream shops and bars. Critical violations are corrected at the time of inspection and non-critical violations are given a re-inspection date and must be corrected by that time.
Report a Food Borne Complaint or Illness
All complaints concerning improper food handling, poor sanitary practices or food borne illness related to food service establishments in Westchester County will be investigated by the health department. If you would like to file a complaint about a food service establishment, call (914) 813-5000.
Supermarkets and Convenience Stores
Some establishments, such as supermarkets and convenience stores, are not regulated by the health department. For more information or to make a complaint about these types of establishments, contact the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets or call (800) 554-4501.
Calorie Posting and Allergy Notice
In Westchester County, all chain restaurants are required to count calories for you and post them on their menus and menu boards. In addition, all restaurant menus and menu boards must also include an allergy notice to remind you to speak to the owner, manager, chef or server if you have a food allergy. These calorie counts and allergy notification postings allow you to make the best informed decisions about what you choose to eat when you dine out.