Food Safety

U.S. Public Health Service Officers in the National Park Service (NPS) work to ensure food safety in our parks in three main areas: facility inspections, temporary events, and plan review assessments.

Facility Inspections
Food safety is ensured primarily by conducting facility inspections. Public Health Officers will visit food service facilities twice per year to evaluate food safety practices according to the most recent version of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code. These inspections look at a variety of food safety risk factors in a facility such as sanitation, temperature controls, food preparation and service, and employee health. Food service facilities in our parks range from convenience stores to snack bars, to full-service restaurants. In addition to inspections conducted by the U.S. Public Health Officers, the state or local public health authorities may also conduct inspections under their respective laws and regulations. Each respective jurisdiction may use different versions of the FDA Food Code or their own standards that may not be related to the standards used by the professional staff of the Public Health Program.

Temporary Food Events

Improving food safety at park events is also a focus of our program. There are approximately 150 park events that serve food to the public each year. Public Health Officers work with park staff and food service providers to ensure food safety practices are upheld in the event setting. If you are interested in hosting an event that serves food to the public in a National Park, please learn more by viewing the NPS TFE Guidance and NPS Vendor Application.

Plan Review Assessments

Plan review is another function of the NPS food safety program. When parks or concessions would like to renovate or build new food service facilities, they are expected to consult with a Public Health Officer who will conduct a plan review of the project. The purpose of a plan review process is to ensure the development or building projects comply with the adopted policies and codes. The process involves reviewing construction plans, menus, and code regulations to ensure the project will be a success from a food service point of view.

Last updated: March 9, 2022