Environmental Health & Food Safety Program

Food-Borne Illnesses

In most States, there are about 40 to 60 food-borne illnesses outbreaks that affect 400 to 700 people occur each year. Because many milder cases aren't diagnosed or reported, the actual number of people sickened by food-borne illness may be many times greater, in the tens of thousands. Food-borne illness can be serious, often resulting in loss of work days, hospitalization, or even death. Each year, about 3,000 people in the United States die as a result of food-borne illness. 

While large outbreaks tend to be associated with restaurants and other food service settings, home kitchens are also commonly implicated as a source of outbreaks. Despite advances in food safety, preventing food-borne illness and death remains a major public health challenge.

For inspections related to grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores visit the TN Department of Agriculture .

Environmental Health & Food Safety Program

Environmental Health and Food Safety Program is a progressive team dedicated to promoting safe practices in food service settings to minimize the incidence of food-borne illness. We work in partnership with the food service industry and local, state, and federal agencies, in particular local health departments.

In close collaboration with these partners, our program focuses on activities to:

  • Strengthen regulation and polices for prevention of food-borne illness.
  • Educate public health professionals, food service employees, and consumers on safe practices.
  • Respond to food-borne illness outbreaks, complaints, and food-related emergencies.

Our program is comprised of two major components:

Food Related Inspections:

  • Day Care Centers
  • Mobile Food Trucks
  • Restaurants
  • Temporary Events With Food Vendors

Non Food Related Inspections:

  • Hotels / Motels
  • Organized Camps
  • Swimming Pools
  • Tattoo and Body Piercing Establishments
  • Barbershops
  • Coin Operated Laundry 
  • Funeral Homes 
  • Personal Care Homes
  • Trailer Courts 

Administration of all the following are also included:

  • Complaint Investigations
  • Permit Approvals
  • Permit Fee Collections
  • Plan Reviews
  • Suspensions

The Environmental Health and Food Safety Program issues permits for several types of food service establishments, including farmers' markets, mobile food units, temporary events and retail food service establishments. See the permit documents listed on the right for specific requirements for each permit.