Food Service Establishment Inspections in Laurel County


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.


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 inspector.


Click here –> 2005 Kentucky Food Code



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 “critical.”

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.
Follow-up Inspections

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 follow-up inspection.


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.

Click the link below to see the most recent inspection scores.


Restaurant Scores