Food safety

Food code
For more information and questions about Colorado's new food code and the major changes that go into effect January 1, 2019 click here.

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
Please submit the following:

For facilities located in Carbondale and Glenwood Springs:
Garfield County Public Health - Food Program
2014 Blake Avenue
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
Fax: (970) 947-0155

For facilities located in New Castle, Silt, Rifle, Parachute, and Battlement Mesa:
Garfield County Public Health - Food Program
195 W. 14th Street
Rifle, CO 81650
Fax: (970) 625-4804

Step 2 - Plan review
The inspector reviews the plans and will contact you with questions. CRS 25-4-1605(4) states that the health department shall respond to any plans submitted within 14 working days. Please be advised that does not mean the plans will be approved within 14 days.

Step 3 - Plan Approval
The inspector issues a plan approval letter. This not approval to open! This is approval for construction to begin.

Step 4 - Inspection
Once construction is complete, we will schedule a pre-operational inspection. If there are no unresolved critical items at that time, approval to open will be granted pending:
•   Retail Food Establishment License Application is submitted
•   License fee is paid
•   Final approval from building authority and fire department
•   All required sales tax licenses and permits have been obtained


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

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. 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 the following applications:
    •  Temporary Vendor application

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

Food safety classes

No classes are available at this time and to contact Nettie Mojarro at 970-625-5200 Ext 8128 or Nettie Mojarro for information.

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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