Regularly Used in Food Establishment Inspections and
The following terms and their definitions are routinely used in the
inspection of food establishments in Iowa.The terms and definitions listed
below can be found in Iowa Code Chapter 137F (2005), the Department’s
administrative rules [481 IAC 30], and the 1997 Food Code.Additional terms
and their definitions can be found in the Food Code [1-201.10,
Applicability and Terms Defined]. Note: Inspectors often use
acronyms on report forms. Where appropriate, the commonly used acronym is
listed with the respective term in the following definitions.
“Approved” means acceptable to the regulatory authority based on
a determination of conformity with principles, practices, and generally
recognized standards that protect public health.
“Approved food source” means a source of food that complies with
the provisions of Iowa law and the Food Code. Approved food sources are
those sources that are routinely and regularly inspected by a regulatory
“Baked goods” means breads, cakes, doughnuts, pastries, buns,
rolls, cookies, biscuits and pies (except meat pies).
“Certified food protection manager (CFPM)” means the operator or
a manager (person in charge) of a (retail) food establishment who has been
certified by an approved food protection certification examination.
“Commissary” means a food establishment used for preparing,
fabricating, packaging and storage of food or food products for
distribution and sale through the food establishment’s own outlets.
“Confirmed disease outbreak” means a foodborne disease outbreak
in which laboratory analysis of appropriate specimens identifies a
causative agent and epidemiological analysis implicates the food as the
source of the illness.
“Consumer” means a person who is a member of the public, takes
possession of food, is not functioning in the capacity of an operator or a
food establishment or food processing plant, and does not offer the food
“Corrected on site (COS)” means the identified violation was
corrected at the establishment while the inspector was present and
documented as such.
“Critical control point” means a point or procedure in a
specific food system where loss of control may result in an unacceptable
“Critical violation” means a provision of the Food Code that, if
left uncorrected, is more likely than other violations to contribute to
food contamination, illness, or environmental health hazard.
“Department” means the Iowa Department of Inspections and
Appeals, which, for purposes of the Food Code, is the state’s designated
“Director” means the director of the Iowa Department of
Inspections and Appeals.
“Egg handler” or “handler” means any person who engages
in any business in commerce which involves buying or selling any eggs (as
a poultry producer or otherwise), or processing any egg products, or
otherwise using any eggs in the preparation of human food. An egg handler
does not include a food establishment or home food establishment if either
establishment obtains eggs from a licensed egg handler or supplier which
meets standards referred to in rule 481—31.2(137F). Producers who sell
eggs produced exclusively from their own flocks directly to egg handlers
or to consumer customers are exempt from regulation as egg handlers.
“Employee” means the permit holder, person in charge, person
having supervisory or management duties, person on the payroll, family
member, volunteer, person performing work under contractual agreement, or
other person working in a food establishment.
“Farmers market”means a marketplace which operates seasonally as
a common market for fresh fruits and vegetables on a retail basis for
consumption elsewhere. A person who sells potentially hazardous food (food
that is capable of supporting the rapid and progressive growth of toxins)
at a farmers market must obtain a license for each county in which the
person operates. A license is not required to sell wholesome, fresh shell
eggs to consumer customers.
“Food” means a raw, cooked, or processed edible substance, ice,
a beverage, an ingredient used or intended for use or for sale in whole or
in part for human consumption, or chewing gum.
“Food Code” means the 1997 Food Code published by the United
States Public Health Service, as amended and incorporated by reference
into Iowa Code Chapter 137F (2005).
“Food contact surface” means a surface of equipment or a utensil
with which food normally comes into contact; or a surface of equipment of
a utensil from which food may drain, drip, or splash into a food, or onto
a surface normally in contact with food.
“Foodborne disease outbreak” means an incident in which two (2)
or more persons experience a similar illness after ingestion of a common
food; and Epidemiological analysis implicates the food as the source of
the illness.“Foodborne disease outbreak” includes a single case of
illness such as one (1) person ill from botulism or chemical poisoning.
“Food employee” means an individual working with unpackaged
food, food equipment or utensils, or food-contact surfaces.
“Food establishment” means an operation that stores, prepares,
packages, serves, vends or otherwise provides food for human consumption.
“Food establishment” includes restaurants, grocery stores,
convenience stores, and other locations including, but not limited to, a
food service operation in a school, summer camp, residential service
substance abuse treatment facility, halfway house substance abuse
treatment facility, correctional facility operated by the department of
corrections, the state training school or the Iowa juvenile home
“Food processing plant” means a commercial operation that
manufactures, packages, labels, or stores food for human consumption and
does not provide food directly to a consumer.
“Food service establishment” means a food establishment where
food is prepared or served for individual portion service intended for
consumption on the premises or subject to Iowa sales tax as provided in
Iowa Code section 422.45.
“HACCP plan” means a written document that details the formal
procedures for following the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point
principles developed by The National Advisory Committee on Microbiological
Criteria for Foods.
“Highly susceptible population” means a group of persons who are
more likely than other populations to experience foodborne disease because
they are immunocompromised or older adults and in a facility that provides
health care or assisted living services, such as a hospital or nursing
home; or preschool age children in a facility that provides custodial
care, such as a day care center.
“Home food establishment” means a business on the premises of a
residence where potentially hazardous bakery goods are prepared for
consumption elsewhere. Annual gross sales of these products cannot exceed
$20,000. This term does not include a residence where food is prepared to
be used or sold by churches, fraternal societies, or charitable, civic or
nonprofit organizations. Residences which prepare or distribute honey,
shell eggs or nonhazardous baked goods are not required to be licensed as
home food establishments. Home food establishments with annual gross sales
of $1,000 or less in sales of potentially hazardous bakery products are
exempt from licensing under Iowa Code section 137D.2, if the food is
labeled and the label states that the food comes from a kitchen not under
state inspection or licensure and that labeling complies with rule
“Imminent health hazard” means a significant threat or danger to
health that is considered to exist when there is evidence sufficient to
show that a product, practice, circumstance, or event creates a situation
that requires immediate correction or cessation of operation to prevent
injury based on (1) the number of potential injuries, and (2) the nature,
severity, and duration of the anticipated injury.
“Law” means Iowa Code Chapter 137F (2005), which includes those
portions of the 1997 Food Code as incorporated by legislative action.
“License” means a permit issued by the Department or a local
government entity under contract with the Department that authorizes a
person to operate a food establishment.
“License holder” means the entity that is legally responsible
for the operation of the food establishment such as the owner, the owner’s
agent, or other person; and possesses a valid permit to operate a food
“Mobile food unit” means a food establishment that is readily
movable, which either operates up to three consecutive days at one
location or returns to a home base of operation at the end of each
“Perishable food” means potentially hazardous food.
“Permit” means a license issued by the Department or a local
governmental entity under contract with the Department that authorizes a
person to operate a food establishment.
“Permit holder” means the entity that is legally responsible for
the operation of the food establishment such as the owner, the owner’s
agent, or other person; and possesses a valid permit to operate a food
“Person in charge (PIC)” means the individual present at a food
establishment who is responsible for the operation at the time of
“Potentially hazardous food (PHF)” means a food that is natural
or synthetic and is in a form capable of supporting the rapid and
progressive growth of infectious or toxigenic microorganisms, or the
growth and toxin production of clostridium botulinum. “Potentially
hazardous food” includes an animal food that is raw or heat-treated, a
food of plant origin that is heat-treated or consists of raw seed sprouts,
cut melons, and garlic and oil mixtures that are not acidified or
otherwise modified at a food processing plant in a way that results in
mixtures that do not support growth of infectious or toxigenic
microorganisms. “Potentially hazardous food” does not include the
||An air-cooled hard-boiled egg with shell intact,|
||A food with an aw (water activity) value of 0.85 or
||A food with a hydrogen ion concentration (pH) level of 4.6 or
below when measured at twenty-four degrees Centigrade or
seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit, or|
||A food, in an unopened hermetically sealed container, that is
commercially processed to achieve and maintain commercial sterility
under conditions of nonrefrigerated storage and
“Pushcart” means a non-self-propelled vehicle food establishment
limited to serving nonpotentially hazardous foods or commissary-wrapped
foods maintained at proper temperatures, or limited to the preparation and
serving of frankfurters.
“Ready-to-eat food (RTE)” means food that is in a form that is
edible without washing, cooking, or additional preparation by the food
establishment or the consumer and that is reasonably expected to be
consumed in that form.“Ready-to-eat food” includes (1) potentially
hazardous food that is unpackaged and cooked to the temperature and time
required for the specific food according to the Food Code; (2) raw,
washed, cut fruits and vegetables; (3) whole, raw, fruits and vegetables
that are presented for consumption without the need for further washing,
such as at a buffet; and (4) other food presented for consumption for
which further washing or cooking is not required and from which rinds,
peels, husks, or shells are removed.
“Regulatory authority” means the Iowa Department of Inspections
and Appeals (Department) and the local governmental entities under
contract with the Department that have jurisdiction over a food
“Retail food establishment” means a food establishment that
sells food or food products to consumer customers intended for preparation
or consumption off the premises.
“Single-service articles” means tableware, carry-out utensils,
and other items such as bags, containers, placemats, stirrers, straws,
toothpicks, and wrappers that are designed and constructed for one time,
one person use.
“Temporary food establishment” means a food establishment that
operates for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days in conjunction
with a single event or celebration.
“Vending machine” means a self-service device that, upon
insertion of a coin, paper currency, token, card, or key, dispenses unit
servings of food in bulk or in packages without the necessity of
replenishing the device between each vending operation.
Terms and Definitions Specific to Lodging
“Bed and breakfast home” means a private residence which
provides lodging and meals for guests, in which the host or hostess
resides and in which no more than four guest families are lodged at the
same time. The facility may advertise as a bed and breakfast home, but not
as a hotel, motel or restaurant. The facility is exempt from licensing and
inspection as a hotel or as a food establishment. A bed and breakfast home
may serve food only to overnight guests, unless a food establishment
license is secured.
“Bed and breakfast inn” means a hotel which has nine or fewer
“Boarder” means a person who rents a room, rooms or apartment
for at least a week. A boarder is considered permanent and is not a
“Boarding house” means a house in which lodging is rented and
meals are served to permanent guests. A boarding house is not a food
service establishment or hotel unless it rents or caters to transient
“Hotel” means any building equipped, used or advertised to the
public as a place where sleeping accommodations are rented to temporary or
“License holder” means an individual, corporation, partnership,
governmental unit, association or any other entity to whom a license was
issued under Iowa Code chapter 137C, 137D or 137F.
“Transient guest” means an overnight lodging guest who does not
intend to stay for any permanent length of time. Any guest who rents a
room for more than 31 consecutive days is not classified as a transient