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Opening a Retail Food Establishment in Williamson County
If you are considering opening a food service establishment located within Williamson County, not in the City limits of Austin, the Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) requires the following procedures:
Facility Floor Plans
Floor plans for any new construction or renovation of existing structures must be submitted to WCCHD prior to construction.
The plans shall include the following:
|1. food preparation/cooking areas||4. dish machine (if applicable)|
|2. food storage areas||5. food service equipment|
|3. all sinks||6. employee restrooms|
A plan review fee of $200 shall be submitted along with the plans. This fee allows 2 inspections prior to opening. There will be additional fees for additional inspections. If changes or revisions are made to the initial floor plans, the changes must be submitted for approval.
If the establishment is located in Cedar Park, Leander, or Round Rock, or near any of these cities, please submit the plans to our office at 211 Commerce Blvd., Ste. 111, Round Rock, TX, 78664. Phone (512) 248-7617.
If the establishment is located in Georgetown, Taylor, Jarrell, Florence, Hutto, Liberty Hill or near any of these cities, please submit the plans to our office at 303 Main, Georgetown, TX, 78626. Phone (512) 943-3620.
***For issues concerning waste water, notify the entity supplying those services. If your establishment utilizes an On-Site Sewage Facility (OSSF), you must contact our office at 303 Main, Georgetown, (512) 943-3620, for prior approval to assure the system is approved according to current regulations.
Submittal of Plans / Plan Review Application
A completed plan review application must be submitted along with the floor plan with equipment identified. Failure to submit all information will slow down the review process. We will not begin the review of any plans until all required information is received. A letter will be sent addressing any issues related to the plan that require an explanation or correction. WCCHD will issue a plan approval letter when all requirements are met.
Food Establishment Permit Application
The owner of the establishment must apply for a Food Purveyor Permit with WCCHD. The fee for the permit is based on a total number of employees (full & part time). We will not schedule a final inspection until the Permit Application form and applicable fees are received by WCCHD.
Issuance of Permit
A walk-through inspection must be performed by an inspector from this office prior to opening. At this time all items listed on the Plan Approval letter must be in place. If there are any deficiencies at this time, another inspection will be scheduled before opening. We will continue to inspect until all minimum requirements are met. If any foods or beverages are on site at the time of these inspections, they must be held at the required temperature. We will require the destruction of all foods found to be out of the required temperature ranges at any time during the permitting process. When the establishment meets all requirements, a permit will be issued. The establishment may not open until the permit has been issued by WCCHD and all other required permits have been obtained.
WCCHD cannot permit a kitchen that is inside a private residence.
Food Handler Cards
All cities within Williamson County require that food handlers working in a retail food establishment have a Food Handler Registration Card issued by the Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD). There are three different options for obtaining the training required to receive a WCCHD Food Handler Registration Card.
Option 1 – Online training with the WCCHD Vendor – StateFoodSafety.com
Online Classes are available in English, Spanish and Mandarin. The $20.00 fee includes the online training and a two-year registration with WCCHD. A WCCHD Food Handler Registration Card can be printed immediately after successfully completing the course and passing the exam. Register for the course at: www.statefoodsafety.com/food-handler/texas/williamson-county
Contact WCCHD at (512) 943-3620 or (512) 248-7617 for questions about online training.
Option 2 –WCCHD In-House Classroom Training
In-House Classroom Training is taught by WCCHD Retail Food Program staff and is available in English and Spanish. To register for a Food Handler Training Class, you must pre-register at one of the WCCHD Public Health Centers. Detailed information on class dates and times and the location of the WCCHD Public Health Centers is located on the “Food Handler Training Class – Monthly Schedule” document.
Option 3 – Training received by an Accredited Food Handler Training Provider
Information regarding the Texas Department of Health Accredited Food Handler Training Providers can be found at the following web site: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/foodestablishments/handler.shtm
Training can be obtained either online or by classroom by any accredited program. A Certificate of Training will be provided by the accredited program after completion of the course. Bring the Certificate of Training to one of the WCCHD Public Health Centers and pay $10 for a WCCHD Food Handler Registration Card.
This must be accomplished within 21 days of the employee hire date.
Food establishments in Williamson County, not within the limits of the cities listed on the first page, must have one employee who meets the requirements for the Food Protection Manager’s certification.
When an existing establishment is sold, a new application must be submitted. Contact the Retail Food Program at (512) 943-3620 for requirements and applicable fees.
Change of Location
If an establishment is moved to a new location a Plan Review will be required for that location. If a permit fee has been paid for the existing location, the fee for the new location will be ½ the original fee.
Minimum Requirements for Retail Food Establishments
This information is provided as a courtesy to new retail food establishment owners. It does not include all regulations for a food establishment as written in the Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER). We have addressed the most frequently asked questions. There may be other requirements not included in this form. Changes may be made to the TFER by the Texas Legislature. While we will attempt to keep this information current, any differences in the TFER will apply. A complete copy of the TFER may be downloaded from the Texas Department of Health website, http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/foodestablishments/pdf/TFER2006.pdf.
Contact the appropriate city building officials to apply for required building permits.
Home kitchens shall not be used for any part of the production process of a food to be served for human consumption through a permitted facility. This includes but is not limited to storage, preparation (slicing, chopping, etc.) cooking, heating, and cooling.
- All food preparation, food storage, and ware-washing areas must be physically secure.
- All walls, floors, ceilings, and food contact surfaces must be smooth, durable, nonabsorbent, and easily cleanable.
- All lighting fixtures located over food preparation areas or in food storage areas must be shielded.
- All food must be protected from potential contamination at all times.
- All food prepared for public consumption must come from an approved source.
- All food must be safe, unadulterated, and honestly presented.
- All meat, dairy, and poultry must be inspected. (No home killed or processed meats, raw milk, homemade butter, farm fresh eggs, etc.).
- Shell stock must be in original containers bearing legible source identification tags or labels.
- Food prep / handling areas – handwashing lavatories must be conveniently located and accessible for employee use in food preparation, food dispensing, and ware washing areas.
- Restrooms – handwashing lavatories must be in or adjacent to restrooms.
- All lavatories must be equipped to provide hot (minimum 100° F) and cold water, single service towels, and soap at all times.
Temperature Control Equipment
- All refrigeration units must maintain foods at a temperature of 41° F or below at all times and be equipped with a visible thermometer.
- All freezer units must maintain foods in a frozen state and be equipped with a visible thermometer.
- All cold hold equipment (salad bars, cold plates, etc.) must hold food at 41° F or less at all times.
- All hot hold equipment (steam tables, hot boxes, etc.) must maintain food temperatures at 135° F or higher at all times.
Equipment for Cleaning and Sanitizing – type, materials
Manual dishwashing - “…a sink with at least three compartments shall be provided for manually washing, rinsing, and sanitizing equipment and utensils.” (25 TAC §§229.165(g)(2)(A)) The compartments must be set up as follows:
- wash with soapy water in the first compartment (water temp 110º F minimum or according to manufacturer label directions),
- rinse in clear water in the second compartment, and
- sanitize in the third compartment with an approved chemical sanitizer.
OPTIONAL - If a mechanical dishwasher is used**,
- a chemical sanitizer (see manual ware washing above) must be injected automatically at the proper concentration during the final rinse, OR
- a heat booster must be installed to assure the temperature of the final rinse reaches the appropriate temperature (180ºF)
** The use of a mechanical dishwasher does not replace the requirement for a three compartment sink.
At least one utility sink or curbed cleaning facility with a floor drain shall be provided and used for the cleaning of mops and disposal of mop water. Hot (minimum 100º F) and cold water under pressure must be provided at this location.
- shall be conveniently located and shall be accessible to employees at all times.
- restrooms shall be completely enclosed and have self-closing doors.
- restrooms must have access to a handwashing lavatory in or immediately adjacent to the restroom.
- must provide hot (100ºF minimum) and cold water under pressure.
Safe Water / Sewer
- All establishments must have an approved water source.
- All wells must have a bacteriological analysis report and meet TCEQ’s drinking water requirements.
- On-Site Sewage Facilities (OSSFs) and grease traps must be adequately sized and functioning properly. ALL OSSF’s must be permitted by the Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) for the specific purpose of servicing a food establishment. Contact our office at 303 Main, Georgetown, (512) 943-3620, if you have questions about your OSSF.
Insect and Rodent Control
- All establishments shall control insects, rodents and other pests within the facility and its’ contents and on the surrounding land under the control of the permit holder by:
- Routinely inspecting incoming shipments of food and supplies;
- Routinely inspecting the premises for evidence of pests;
- If pests found, using methods such as trapping devices OR other means of pest control properly / legally applied according to TFER regulations;
- openings shall be effectively protected against the entrance of insects by tight fitting, self closing doors, closed windows or screened windows, controlled air currents, or other means;
- screen doors shall be self closing;
Food Establishment Permit
Any and all persons who own and/or operate a food establishment are required to apply, pay for and obtain a permit prior to opening.
These requirements are based on the Texas Food Establishment Rules (TFER).
See the Environmental Health Services page office locations and hours.
Remember that all Williamson County food establishment employees are required to obtain food handlers cards, available through WCCHD.