Eat Food, Stay Healthy

Food Safety  l  More About Food Safety

Why is safe and healthy food important?

When you go out to eat, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting sick.

Along with our partners in the food industry, we work to ensure that food vendors are permitted and that food is properly and safely handled, prepared and served—so your dining experience can be safe and enjoyable.

What makes food unsafe to eat?

Bacteria, viruses and other hazards can enter our food supply at any point from farm to table. Unsafe food leads to more than 200 types of diseases. Yet when we grow, buy, prepare or eat food, we can’t usually see or smell hazards.

  • In 2014, we received 390 notifications of foodborne illness in Pierce County.
  • Every year about 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.

The main causes of foodborne illnesses include:

  • Food from unsafe or unpermitted sources.
  • Undercooking raw meat, eggs, fish and shellfish.
  • Not keeping cold food cold or hot food hot.
  • Dirty equipment.
  • Not washing hands with soap and hot water.
  • Working when sick.

Unsafe food is especially dangerous for infants, young children, elderly and the sick.

What can you do?

2015 Permits Sample          

When dining out:

  • Look for a Health Department operating permit posted in establishments or a decal posted on food trucks.
  • When ordering food from a caterer or food vendor, ask if they have a Health Department permit. (Click here to view a list of licensed caterers in Pierce County.)   
  • If you see food workers touching your food with bare hands tell the manager.
  • If you see a food worker leave the bathroom without washing their hands tell the manager.

Food Safety Art

When preparing food at home:

  • Clean hands and surfaces often.
  • Separate raw meats from other foods.
  • Cook foods to the right temperature.
  • Chill foods quickly.
  • Don’t work when you're sick!

Report food-related illnesses to your doctor and to us at (253) 798-4712 or