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Food Establishment Construction Guide

This construction guide is to be used in conjunction with the Food Service Establishment Regulations (OAC 310:257). It should not be considered all-inclusive. It is suggested that you contact your local building code official, local fire department, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, or the State Occupational Licensing Office for further requirements.

A license applicant or license holder shall submit to the Health Department plans and specifications for review before (257-15-6):

  • The construction of a food service establishment;
  • The conversion of an existing structure for use as a food service establishment; or
  • The remodeling of a food service establishment or a change of type of food service establishment or food operation.

The plans and specifications shall be drawn to scale and include the (257-15-7):

  • Intended menu;
  • Proposed floor plan to include the location of all equipment and plumbing fixtures;
  • The proposed finish materials for walls, floors and ceilings; and
  • Proposed equipment types, manufacturer specification sheets for each piece of equipment, and model numbers (if available).

Minimum Facility Requirements

  1. FLOORS (257-11-1,3,4,5,6)
    • Floors of all food prep, food service, food storage, dishwashing areas, walk-in refrigerating units, toilet rooms and vestibules must be constructed of smooth, DURABLE material that is impervious to water and easily cleanable such as ceramic tile, terrazzo, durable grade linoleum or sealed concrete.
    • Carpet is not allowed in food preparation areas, food storage areas or restroom facilities.
    • Junctures between walls and floors must be covered and sealed. Pipes and utility lines shall not be unnecessarily exposed.
  2. WALLS AND CEILINGS (257-11-3,4,5,8,9,10)
    • Must be light colored, smooth, durable, non-absorbent, sealed and easily cleanable. This requirement also applies to restroom stall partitions.
    • Exposed studs, joists and rafters are prohibited in food preparation and dishwashing areas.
    • Pipes and utility lines shall be installed so as not to obstruct proper cleaning.
  3. WATER SUPPLY (257-9-13-15-16)
    • Potable water for the needs of the food establishment shall be provided from a source that complies with state laws and regulations.
  4. SEWAGE DISPOSAL (257-9-13,46,49,52)
    • All sewage and wastewater shall be disposed into a public sewage system or an individual sewage disposal system that complies with state laws and regulations.
  5. PLUMBING (257-9-15-16, 21, 28, 47-48); (International Plumbing Code (IPC) 412, 608.2, 802.1.1)
    • Plumbing shall be sized, installed and maintained in a safe manner and according to the International Plumbing Code, applicable local ordinance or health code.
    • The supply lines or fittings for every plumbing fixture shall be installed so as to prevent backflow. This includes all hose bibs.
    • Equipment and fixtures utilized for the storage, preparation and handling of food, including ice, shall discharge through an indirect waste pipe by means of an air gap.
    • An air gap between the water supply inlet and the flood level rim of the plumbing fixture, equipment, or non-food equipment shall be at least two (2) times the diameter of the water supply inlet and shall not be less than one (1) inch.
    • Floor drains must be easily accessible for maintenance and cleaning and be equipped with proper strainers.
    • A grease trap, if required, shall be located to be easily accessible for cleaning.
    • Water conditioning devices shall be designed and located to facilitate servicing and cleaning. Records demonstrating service and inspection shall be maintained at the food service establishment.
  6. HOT WATER (257-9-8); (IPC 607.1; 607.4)
    • Hot water shall be supplied to all sinks.
    • Hot water generation shall be sufficient to meet the peak hot water demands throughout the food establishment.
    • The hot water supply to any fixture shall be installed on the left side of the fixture.
  7. HANDWASHING FACILITY (257-9-14,18,23,26; 257-11-24-25)
    • A minimum of one handwashing sink is required in all food preparation areas. Based on the design of the facility, more than one sink may be required.
    • The handwashing sink:
      • Must be conveniently located in food preparation, food dispensing, and dishwashing areas;
      • Must be a minimum size of eighty (80) square inches with each side at least eight (8) inches, or a diameter of ten (10) inches and at least four (4) inches deep
      • Must provide water at a temperature of at least 100 degrees fahrenheit through a mixing valve or combination faucet
      • Metered faucets shall provide water for a minimum of 15 seconds;
      • Soap and disposable towels must be provided at all handwashing sinks; and
      • Shall be located to avoid contamination of food and food-related items and areas. Splash guards may be used.
  8. MOP SINK (257-9-20)
    • At least one mop sink or curbed cleaning facility with a floor drain shall be provided.
    • They must have provision for the proper storing and air-drying of mops.
  9. RESTROOMS (IPC 403.2; 405.3.3); (257-3-3(2); 5-37; 9-57, 60-61; 11-14,29,32)
    • Adequate toilet facilities shall be provided as required in the locally adopted building or plumbing code or the International Plumbing Code.
    • Male and Female Restrooms are required in facilities where the occupant load exceeds 15. The local building, fire department or health department will determine the occupant load. (It is not based on the number of patron seats/chairs that are available).
    • Public access to the restrooms may not be through food preparation areas, food storage areas or dishwashing areas.
    • Approved handwashing sinks shall be properly installed.
    • Restrooms shall be provided with tight fitting, self-closing doors.
    • Restrooms shall be provided with adequate forced-air ventilation.
    • An adequate number of trash receptacles will be provided. A covered trash receptacle must be provided in the women's restroom.
  10. LIGHTING (257-11-11,31)
    • Light bulbs shall be shielded, coated, or otherwise shatter-resistant in areas where there is exposed food, clean equipment, utensils, linens, and unwrapped single-service and single-use articles.
    • Adequate artificial illumination shall be provided in accordance with the following minimum requirements:
      • 50 foot-candles
        • in all food preparation areas, including under ventilation hoods.
      • 20 foot candles
        • in consumer self-service areas and inside lighted equipment; and
        • at a distance of 30 inches above the floor in areas used for handwashing, dishwashing, equipment and utensil storage and in toilet rooms.
      • 10 foot candles
        • at a distance of 30 inches above the floor;
        • in walk-in refrigeration units and dry food storage areas; and
        • in other areas and rooms during periods of cleaning.
  11. EQUIPMENT (257-5-41; 7-1,9,28,31,49,54,59-62,106)
    • All floor-mounted food equipment shall be certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) or an equivalent organization. This includes, but is not limited to sinks, ovens, ranges, mixers, prep freezers, refrigerators, grills, griddles, fryers, ice machines and steam tables.
    • The following counter equipment must be certified by NSF or an equivalent organization: slicers, grinders, food processors, crock-pot/hot holding units and other similar food processing equipment.
    • Microwave ovens and handheld equipment/utensils do not have to be certified by NSF or an equivalent organization.
    • Equipment and utensils shall be designed and constructed of non-toxic, durable materials.
    • Equipment shall be installed to facilitate cleaning.
    • Floor mounted food equipment that is not easily moveable shall be sealed to the floor or elevated on legs with a minimum height of 6 inches.
    • Wood and wood wicker shall not be used as a food-contact surface, except close-grained hard wood may be used for items such as cutting blocks, boards, bakers' tables, rolling pins, salad bowls.
    • Equipment may be located under automatic fire sprinkler heads, but not under leaking or unshielded sewer lines or leaking water lines
    • Food equipment shall be designed to provide protection of displayed food from consumer contamination.
    • Soft drink machines for self-service and refilling shall be designed to prevent contact with the lip-contact surface of glasses or cups.
    • Beverage tubing and cold-plate beverage cooling devices shall not be installed in contact with stored ice that is intended for consumption. This does not apply to cold plates that are constructed integrally with an ice storage bin.
    • If a washing machine is used to wash items other than wiping cloths, a dryer is required.
  12. HOODS AND DUCTS(257-7-22,26,53; 257-11-32)

    Ventilation hood systems and devices shall:

    • Meet the requirements of locally adopted codes or the Oklahoma State Board of Health Mechanical Industry Regulations (Chapter 290). Occupational licensing (405) 271-5217
    • Shall be installed above heat generating equipment that is capable of producing grease-laden vapors.
    • Be sufficient in number and capacity to prevent grease, condensation, smoke or noxious odors from collecting in the food establishment.
    • Filters or other grease extracting equipment shall be designed to be readily removable for cleaning and replacement, if not designed to be cleaned in place.
  13. REFRIGERATION (257-5-59; 7-37,49)

    All refrigeration units shall:

    • Be capable of operating at 41F or below at all times;
    • Be provided with a thermometer, accurate to plus or minus 3F;
    • Residential, home-type refrigerators are not permitted; and
    • Existing establishments may continue to use residential refrigerators if required temperatures are maintained or until equipment is replaced. Any replacement equipment must meet the criteria listed above.
  14. HOT FOOD STORAGE OR DISPLAY (257-5-59; 7-37)

    All hot storage or display facilities shall:

    • Be capable of maintaining hot food to an internal temperature of 135F or above; and
    • Be provided with a thermometer accurate to plus or minus 3F.
  15. STORAGE (257-5-37; 7-11)
    • Food, clean utensils and equipment, linens, and single-service articles shall be stored a minimum of six (6) inches above the floor.
    • Items that are kept in closed packages may be stored less than six (6) inches above the floor if stored on dollies, pallets, racks and skids provided such equipment is easily moveable.
    • Unfinished construction is not allowed. All exposed surfaces of all cabinetry and shelving shall be finished with a smooth, nonabsorbent, corrosion-resistant, easily cleanable surface.
  16. CUSTOMER SELF SERVICE (257-5-41,43)
    • Sneeze shields shall be installed at all displays of unpackaged foods accessible for service by the customer.
  17. DISHWASHING FACILITIES (257-7-38-44,51-52,57-58,65-77,95; 11-44)
    • A commercial dishwasher or a three-compartment sink with drain boards is required. Accurate test kits or thermometers shall be provided.
    • The three compartment sink:
      • Must be NSF certified or equivalent;
      • Must have rounded corners, be smooth, and have no welded seams;
      • Must have adequately sized self-draining drain boards, racks or tables to accommodate soiled and clean items that accumulate during hours of operation;
      • Must have compartments large enough to accommodate immersion of at least half of the largest piece of equipment or utensil used in the establishment; and
    • The commercial dishwasher:
      • Must be NSF certified or equivalent;
      • An exhaust system is to be provided above hot water sanitizing machines to remove steam;
      • Accurate thermometers shall be installed on all dishwashers; and
      • Dishwashing machines that use a chemical sanitizer shall be equipped with a device that audibly or visually indicates when more sanitizer needs to be added.
  18. OUTER OPENINGS (257-11-15)
    • If windows or doors are kept open, the openings will be protected against the entry of insects and rodents by sixteen (16) mesh to one (1) inch screens, properly designed air curtains or other effective means.
  19. GARBAGE AND REFUSE (257-9-55,57,59)
    • Receptacles for refuse, recyclables, returnables and materials containing food residue shall be durable, cleanable, insect and rodent resistant, leak proof and non-absorbent.
    • Receptacles used outside the food service establishment shall be designed and constructed to have tight-fitting lids, doors or covers. They must be in good repair and have a drain plug.
    • The outdoor storage surface for refuse shall be constructed of non-absorbent material such as concrete or asphalt and shall be smooth, durable, and sloped to drain.
  20. LIVING AREAS (257-7-5; 11-22)
    • No operation of a food establishment shall be conducted in any room used as living or sleeping quarters.
    • Laundry equipment may be installed in storage rooms containing only pre-packaged food or single-service items.
  21. EMPLOYEE LOCKER AREAS (257-11-33)
    • Lockers or other suitable facilities shall be provided and used for the storage of employee’s clothing and other possessions.
    • Dressing rooms shall be provided, if the employees regularly change their clothes, in the establishment
  22. OTHER
    • All electrical, mechanical, or plumbing work MUST be installed according to law.
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