Food safety

Food code
For questions about Colorado's new food code click here. Garfield County is hosting several information sessions on the major changes that will go into effect January 1, 2019.
Food code class flier (English)-|
Food code class flier (Spanish)-|

Garfield County's consumer protection program is responsible for inspecting child care facilities and retail food establishments. The mission is to prevent the transmission of foodborne and communicable diseases through education and enforcement of applicable Colorado regulations.

Retail food license fee increase

Incremental increases of fees for retail food establishments go into effect on Sept. 1. If an establishment already has a 2018 retail food license, the increase will not kick in until the business renews its license in 2019.
license fee increase-|

food safety
Garfield County builds successful food safety consumer protection program
June 16, 2016 press release-|

Foodborne illness
Foodborne illness is a widespread and costly public health problem. Foodborne illness refers to any disease caused by consuming a food or beverage that is contaminated with a bacteria, virus, parasite, chemical, or toxins. The typical symptoms of foodborne illness include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and fever. In very rare cases, more severe side effects can result, such as nerve damage, kidney damage, miscarriage, and death.

Young children and the elderly are more at risk for developing serious side effects, but young, healthy adults are also susceptible. It is estimated that one in six Americans will get foodborne illness each year, and thousands more will be hospitalized. As many as 3,000 deaths are attributed to foodborne illness in the U.S. annually, which can be prevented by proper food safety principles being applied in homes and food service operations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that reducing foodborne illness by just ten percent would prevent five million Americans from getting sick each year.

What the consumer protection team does:
•     Licenses and inspects retail food establishments, which includes restaurants, grocery stores, bars, convenience stores, school kitchens, and food trucks - there are over 300 and counting in Garfield County

•     Inspects temporary events where food is served, such as the Garfield County Fair, festivals, and farmer's markets

•     Enforces the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations

•     Assists in foodborne illness outbreak investigations

•     Conducts plan reviews, inspections, and approval of all new or extensively remodeled food establishments

•     Provides food safety education classes for restaurant workers

•     Investigates complaints of suspected foodborne illness and unsanitary conditions in retail food establishments

•     Inspects child care facilities for proper sanitation

Restaurant inspections
Restaurant inspections are unannounced, and typically last about 90 minutes. During that time, the inspector observes the food handling and sanitation practices of the workers, as well as the physical conditions of the facility and equipment. If problems are identified, the first course of action is to correct the issues at the time of the inspection.

In very rare situations, serious problems that are left uncorrected may result in fines and/or closures. The routine inspection frequency of a food establishment varies based on risk and depends on the menu, number of meals served, and inspection history. Most full-service restaurants are inspected twice a year. Focusing time on higher-risk establishments allows for limited resources to be maximized.

Plan reviews
To operate a restaurant or mobile food truck in Garfield County, you must become licensed as a retail food establishment to sell food to the public.

Step 1 - Application
If you are planning to open a food establishment, please submit the following:

Please note that plans will not be reviewed until a completed application, along with the $100 plan review fee, has been received by Garfield County.

Step 2 - Plan review and approval
Your plans will be reviewed and you will receive confirmation regarding the status of your application within 10 business days. Plans that are incomplete will delay this process. You will be invoiced for additional time spent if plan review exceeds one hour.

Please allow up to 14 days for plans to be reviewed and rejected or approved. Plans must be in compliance with the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations before they will be approved.

Incomplete applications will delay the approval process. Once your plans have been approved by Garfield County and the local fire and building departments, construction can begin.

Step 3 - Pre-operational Inspection
When construction is complete and all equipment is installed and running, please call to schedule a pre-operational inspection. This must be at least three weeks before your anticipated opening date. If a follow-up to the pre-operational inspection is required, an additional $75 fee will be charged.

Step 4 - Retail Food License Application
Once you have been approved to open to the public, please fill out and submit the Retail Food Establishment License Application along with the applicable license fee. Do not pay the license fee until your plans have been approved. You will receive your license within approximately 10 business days from when the payment is processed. Incomplete applications will delay the approval process.


If you are planning to extensively remodel an existing retail food establishment, a plan review may be required. Please also keep in mind that you will be required to comply with up to date retail food, building, and plumbing codes.

Extensive remodeling includes:
      •   Increasing seating capacity by 15 seats or 20%, whichever is greater                  
      •  Alterations to non-public spaces that result in an increase or decrease of total space by 25% or more
      •  Changes to the menu or additional of a new food process that increases the risk of foodborne illness

Application and fee information

Please send all applications to:
Garfield County Environmental Health Consumer Protection
195 W. 14th Street Rifle, CO 81650
Fax: 970.625.4804

Make checks payable to: Garfield County Treasurer

Mail payments to: Garfield County Public Health Attn: Nettie Mojarro
195 W. 14th Street Rifle, CO 81650

Licensing and change of ownership

Retail Food Licenses are specific to the owner and location, and are not transferrable. If a change of ownership is occurring mid-year, the new owner is responsible for obtaining a new license at full cost; licenses are not prorated. All licenses expire on December 31 of each year. If you are making significant changes to the facility, menu, or equipment, a plan review is required.

Licenses must be posted in a conspicuous place in the establishment or mobile unit at all times.

Temporary events

If you are planning a special event with food in Garfield County, please submit the event coordinator plan review application at least 30 days prior to your event. If you would like to be a food vendor at a temporary event located in Garfield County, please refer to the vendor flow chart to determine what you will need to submit to the department for approval. Please allow two weeks for your application to be processed. Incomplete applications will delay the approval process. You will receive an approval letter to provide to the event coordinator once your application has been approved.

Please fill out one of the following applications:
    •  Temporary Vendor application

Food safety classes

Garfield County offers two free food safety classes on Monday, May 7, at the Glenwood Springs Library, 815 Cooper Ave. The classes are from 8:30 - 11 a.m. in English, and from 1:30 - 4 p.m. in Spanish.

Monday, May 7, 2018
English session: 8:30-11 am
Spanish session: 1:30-4:00 pm
Glenwood Springs Branch Library - Community Room
815 Cooper Ave.
Glenwood Springs, CO, 81601

To sign up, contact Nettie Mojarro or 970-625-5200 ext. 8128

An online food handler class is $10 per person.
Make sure to select 'Colorado' and 'All Other Counties' for the correct course.

To report a suspected case of foodborne illness or unsanitary conditions in a food establishment in Garfield County, please call (970) 625-5200 ext. 8128 and be ready to provide the following information:

      •  Your name and contact information

      •  Information about the suspected establishment or product information for manufactured products

      •  Information about your symptoms and medical care received, if applicable

      •  Other ill persons in your party and their contact information

Child Care Facility inspections
Garfield County inspects all child care facilities and camps for sanitation. Inspection frequency depends on the number and age of the children and may be once or twice a year. These facilities receive additional inspections and are licensed by the Department of Human Services. For more information on licensing a child care facility, please visit:

      •  Rules and Regulations Governing the Health and Sanitation of Child Care Facilities in the State of Colorado - School Inspections
Schools located in Garfield County are inspected by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. For more information, please visit:

Other resources
      •   Colorado Retail Food Establishment rules and regulations English-|    Spanish-|

      •  Signs related to food handling

      •  Interpretive memos clarifying retail food regulations

      •  Cottage foods

      •  Wholesale food program :

Food safety recalls

FDA logo U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Protecting and Promoting Your Health

Public Health - Rifle
195 West 14th Street
Rifle, CO 81650
Email Public Health

970-625-5200 | phone
970-625-4804 | fax

  Public Health - Glenwood Springs
2014 Blake Avenue
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
Email Public Health

970-945-6614 | phone
970-947-0155 | fax

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