One of the key responsibilities of the Westport Weston Health District is to ensure that food service establishments, temporary food events and farmer’s markets prepare and serve food to the public that is safe. Special attention is given to safe food practices, prevention of food contamination and food temperature control.
Restaurants and Food Services Establishments: The Westport Weston Health District inspects over 200 food establishments. Through the inspection of food establishments and education of the food service manager, we are able to promote public health in the areas of food safety and sanitation to prevent the spread of food-borne disease. See Restaurants and Food Services Permits and Guidelines.
Temporary Events: Temporary events (events running less than 14 days a year) are an important part of the life of our community. When food is served to the public at these events, the organizers will need a permit from the Health District. Because the food may be prepared and served in less than ideal surroundings, the Health District takes a particular interest in seeing that those organizing and managing temporary events are fully aware of the inherent difficulties of safe food handling in such circumstances.
Organizers of Temporary Food Events should apply to the Health District for a permit at least 14 days before the event. An application will need to be completed and submitted. Health District staff will review the application, make suggestions about the menu and serving venues if necessary. For the larger events, Health District inspectors will be on-site to see that the food service is in full compliance with the State and local health codes. See Temporary event permits and guidelines
Farmer’s Markets: The Westport Weston Health District works closely with the market masters to ensure they are familiar with the Farmers market regulations that pertain to prepared food items and to discuss basic food safety practices that will need to be followed within their respective markets. All Farmers market master’s must complete and submit a Farmers Market Master’s Application to the Health District to register their market.
- Farmers who only sell fresh, raw, uncut and unprocessed fruits and vegetables must also register with the Health District by completing the Farmers Application for which there is no fee.
- Farmers that sample or process their fruits and vegetables in some way must complete and return an Application for Farmers Offering Samples of Farm Processed Fruits, Vegetables, or Other Products.
- Guest chefs may be present to demonstrate how to use some of the fruits and vegetables that can be found at various vendor booths. Guest chefs need to complete and return the Application for Guest Chef Food Demonstrations prior to preparing any food items. Working together, the market master, vendors, guest chefs, and Health District will be able to provide consumers with excellent products in a safe and healthy manner.
Inspections are the backbone of the Health District’s food program. Most food service establishments are inspected at least four times a year. The number of inspections is determined by the type of food that is served or sold. The State Public Health Code determines the content of each inspection; a State Form is used to score the results of each inspection. If necessary, a schedule for correction of outstanding violations is issued. Check out the applicable state code and the WWHD Local Health Codes that regulate food service (pdf files).
The physical layout and characteristics of a food service establishment have much to do with wholesomeness of the food served or sold at the establishment.
To make certain that equipment and layout of food service establishments meets code requirements, the Health District requires a physical plan review for any new establishment opening in Westport or Weston. This plan review is intended to make certain that the kitchens, refrigeration and hot holding appliances, and sanitary facilities can be cleaned, can hold proper temperatures, and are of commercial grade.
Establishments that wish to modify their physical facilities are also required to obtain a plan review permit. See plan review permits.
The Health District oversees the following venues:
Find out more about Food Safety at the following links: