Understanding Violations

During an inspection, an environmental health specialist may notice activities or conditions that may increase the risk of injury or illness, and may document them as “violations”. On an inspection report there are two types of violations, critical and non-critical.

Critical violations are conditions that could lead to a possible foodborne illness. In order for a facility to remain open, all critical violations must be corrected prior to a environmental health specialist leaving the food establishment. These violations are listed on the inspection report as Violation number 1 through 9. Examples of critical violations are:

  • Food products obtained from unapproved source (i.e. private homes or unlicensed establishments).
  • Food products not protected from cross contamination, such as spills, contact with raw products, or contamination by food handlers or equipment.
  • Poor employee hygiene or improper hand washing.
  • Improper food temperatures for potentially hazardous food.
  • No hot and/or cold water.

Non-critical violations, also called good retail practices, are activities or conditions that may not directly lead to foodborne illness, but if left uncorrected, some may lead to critical violations. If an environmental health specialist finds a non-critical violation, the facility is typically given up to 30 days to make any necessary repairs or corrections. These violations are number 10 through 35 on the inspection report.

Note: Inspection reports represent violation findings that were present during that particular inspection process. Findings on a particular report may not necessarily represent the overall daily operational conditions at a given facility.

This website presents a quick view of a facility’s critical violations. A key is listed below:

  • 1: Food obtained from approved sources.
  • 2: Food separated and protected from adulteration, spoilage, and contamination.
  • 3: Food workers with infection or diarrhea restricted in accordance with COMAR 10.06.01.
  • 4: Hands clean and properly washed.
  • 5: Cooling time and temperature.
  • 6a: Cold holding temperature.
  • 6b: Hot holding temperature.
  • 7a: Cooking time and temperature.
  • 7b: Reheating time and temperature.
  • 8: Potable hot and cold running water provided.
  • 9: Sewage discharged in accordance with all applicable State and local codes.