Northern Kentucky Health Department
Establishment Inspections in Northern Kentucky
Note: The food inspection scores can be searched by establishment name, city,
ZIP Code or inspection score. A link to the most recent inspection scores can be
found at the bottom of this page.
By law, food service establishments (this includes bars, restaurants, etc.)
operating in Kentucky are required to have a permit to operate. These permits
are issued by the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. In Boone,
Campbell, Grant and Kenton counties, the Northern Kentucky Health Department
issues food permits on behalf of the state. Click
for a complete list of the types of facilities generally categorized as food
One of the requirements for a permit is that the establishment must be inspected
regularly. This is done by a registered sanitarian, commonly known as a health
The inspections are conducted based upon items related to general sanitation and
food safety. They are done twice a year, unless otherwise needed (for example, a
restaurant having a food safety/sanitation complaint may be inspected more than
twice in one year. Also, establishments that only operate for a short period of
time during the year may only receive one inspection each year).
The inspections are typically unannounced---the establishment does not know
ahead of time when the inspection will take place. The exception to this is in
cases where it is necessary to schedule an inspection due to an establishment’s
hours of operation or for other establishments that are not open to the public
on a walk-in basis.
The purpose of the inspections is to assure that the food is being properly
handled and protected when stored, prepared, displayed, served and transported.
Inspectors observe various aspects of a food service operation including:
Food service workers’ hygienic practices and food handling practices
Food temperatures for potentially hazardous foods
Equipment design, maintenance and operation
Storage of foods and food service items
Scores: What Do They Mean?
Inspections involve a report containing 38 potential items of violation, each of
which is assigned a point value based on how it can affect a person’s health.
The point values range from one to five, with one being least severe and five
being most severe.
Most of the items on the inspection are weighted at one or two points and are
characterized as “non-critical.” Others are weighted at three, four or five
points because they are considered a higher threat and are characterized as
An example of a non-critical item is a hand washing sink in an establishment
that is dirty or a refrigerator that doesn’t have a thermometer provided in or
on it to monitor the temperature inside.
An example of a critical item is an employee failing to use a hand sink, whether
dirty or not, to wash hands between handling raw chicken and cutting up
vegetables for use in salad; or potentially hazardous food items stored at a
temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit inside a refrigerator that is not cooling
properly due to a mechanical failure, whether a thermometer is present or not.
To calculate an establishment’s final score, the total of the points for all
violations marked is subtracted from a total point value of 100.
Generally, follow-up inspections are necessary within 10 days if an
establishment has any critical violations or within 30 days if it has a total
score below 85 without critical violations. Follow-up inspections can be
conducted on the same visit, if the problem is something the restaurant staff
can correct immediately. A food establishment can also require more than one
In any case, if the total score received is below 70, more
immediate enforcement measures are taken involving imminent or immediate
suspension of the establishment’s permit. Scores below 70 may require
administrative actions, including conferences with officials from the Kentucky
Department for Public Health, which may result in later follow-up dates. The
food establishment may be required to close during this time period. If you have
questions about a particular situation, you may request the complete inspection
report by calling Environmental Health and Safety at 859.341.4151.
A searchable list of food service establishments in Northern Kentucky with the
dates of their recent inspections and the scores associated with them, along
with follow up scores if they were necessary, can be seen by clicking
These scores were updated on January 30, 2013.
Please keep in mind that the inspection scores only represent the conditions
present at the time of the inspection. Conditions in a restaurant as well as
other types of food service establishments can change from hour-to-hour and
More than 350 restaurants in Northern Kentucky are 100 percent smoke-free.
View a list of smoke-free restaurants.
To view a sample of the complete inspection form, click
Adobe Acrobat is required to open this file).
Copies of establishment inspection reports are available to the public upon
written request. For information on requesting a report, please call
Environmental Health and Safety at 859.341.4151.
For more information on rating scores for food service establishments and how
they relate to enforcement of the
Kentucky State Retail Food Code, see Section 41 of