Risk Based Inspection Program
Risk Based Food Inspection Program
Our number one goal is to protect the public health. In our retail food inspection program this goal includes protecting the residents and visitors of Solano County from foodborne illness. To reach the goal, we focus our inspection efforts on facilities that may present a greater risk based upon various aspects of the food operation. This approach is called a Risk-Based Inspection Program.

Although foodborne illness can happen in any food facility, it is more likely to occur where many different kinds of perishable foods are handled and processed. To concentrate our resources where the highest risks of foodborne illness occur, we have designed a risk-based inspection program that adjusts inspection frequency based upon the volume and types of food handling that take place at food establishments within Solano County. A risk assessment analysis is completed for each food establishment upon opening or when there is a change of menu or type of operation. Based upon the results of the analysis the food establishment is assigned to one of three risk categories:
  • Low Risk Category: Requires one routine inspection per year to verify proper food source, food storage, and general cleanliness. Examples include: Roadside produce stands, most convenience marts, some taverns, and coffee shops with additional minimal food handling.
  • Medium Risk Category: Requires two routine inspections per year to verify proper food handling. Examples include: Most fast food chain-type facilities, bakeries, donut shops, and convenience stores with some hot food sales.
  • High Risk Category: Requires three routine inspections per year, one of which may be an announced consultation/training to discuss risk reduction techniques. Examples include: Full service restaurants, supermarkets with food preparation, and hospitals.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Why implement a risk-based food inspection program?
    Our goal is to minimize foodborne illness by inspecting those establishments that pose the greatest risk and helping them reduce risks through education and enforcement. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that all retail food inspection programs assign the frequency of inspections based on the food safety risks at each establishment. Solano County's Risk-Based Inspection Program was created using the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations recommendations and guidelines.
  • How will my business benefit from this service?
    All food establishments will benefit from this program. Facilities with the highest risk will receive more frequent contact with our environmental health specialist for both inspections and consultations. Medium risk facilities will receive needed contact for verification of compliance. Low risk facilities will benefit by receiving only the necessary number of inspections each year, and a reduced annual fee resulting from our shift in resources.
  • Will a high-risk establishment receive the same type of inspection as a low-risk establishment?
    A high-risk establishment, like a full-service restaurant will receive a complete hazard analysis inspection, which will identify critical points in the food preparation process where food could be mishandled or contaminated. Since a low-risk establishment, like a convenience store typically does not handle unpackaged foods, the inspection will focus mainly on food source, storage, and general cleanliness.
  • If I were to expand or reduce my food menu, will my establishment need to be re-assigned to a different risk category?
    Changing your menu or expanding or reducing your food operation may result in a change of your risk category. If you need assistance in identifying the risk of your current or proposed food operation, please contact your environmental health specialist at (707) 784-6765.
  • What can I do if my food establishment is assigned to an incorrect risk category?
    If you feel your facility has been incorrectly assessed, please call your district environmental health specialist who will review your food operational risk.