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Restaurant Inspections

Waitress writing a food order

Inspection of food service establishments is an important part of the Department of Health's mission to protect the health of Tennesseans. Department of Health environmental specialists inspect every establishment where food and beverages are prepared and served at least twice a year. Food service establishments are required to post their most recent inspection report in a prominent location where it can be seen by the public, and inspection reports are available for review at Tennessee's county health department locations.

The Department of Health posts the most recent inspection reports for food service establishments in this database.

About The Inspection Process


Inspection Frequency: Restaurants are inspected at least once every six (6) months and as often as the commissioner may deem necessary to determine compliance with the rules and regulations governing food service establishments. A restaurant must be inspected at least once between January 1 and June 30 and at least once between July 1 and December 31 of each year.

VIOLATIONS (Two types of violations may be cited): 

Critical Violations: Violations of the Food Regulations, which, if left uncorrected, are more likely than other violations to directly contribute to food contamination or illness. Examples of critical violations include poor temperature control of food, improper cooking, cooling, refrigeration, or reheating temperatures. These types of violations can create environments that cause bacteria to grow and thrive, which puts the consumer at risk for food-borne illness.

Non-Critical Violations: Violations not directly related to the cause of food-borne illness, but if uncorrected, could impede the operation of the restaurant. The likelihood of food-borne illness in these cases is very low. Non-Critical violations, if left uncorrected, could lead to Critical violations. Examples of non-critical violations include a lack of facility cleanliness and maintenance.


Complete: This is an unannounced inspection of the restaurant. An inspector will conduct a complete inspection covering all items in the regulations for compliance.

Follow-up Inspection: This is an inspection for the specific purpose of re-inspecting critical items that were not in compliance at the time of the routine inspection.

Complaint: This is an inspection conducted as a result of a complaint received by the health department. The specifics of the complaint will be evaluated and discussed with the person in charge.