Tips for Eating Out

Food Establishment Inspections

Since viewing inspection reports may not be practical at all times, here are a few other helpful hints.


Following these tips helps people protect themselves and other from food-borne illness when eating out. Know the requirements. Food service operators in Washington follow many food safety steps to serve safe food.

Look for bare hand contact

In Washington, food workers are trained to prevent bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. Food workers must use gloves, tongs, or other barriers to keep from touching foods that are ready to be eaten (such as toast, sandwiches, and salad).

Food at proper temperature

Foods such as meats, sliced melons, cooked vegetables, cooked starches, cut leafy greens, and cut tomatoes must be kept hot (135°F or above) or cold (41°F or less). If food is not as hot or cold as it should be, send it back.

Required food safety training

All food workers are required to have food safety training. Spokane Regional Health District offers food safety training courses online and in our office. After completing the training, food workers must pass a test in our office to receive their food workers permit.  For more information and a link to the online training, go to our Food Worker Permit information page

​ Read the menu and signs

Food establishments are required to post a consumer advisory if they serve raw or undercooked foods of animal origin, or unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices.

Ask questions

Someone in the establishment should be able to describe how food is prepared.

Order wisely

For example:  order your hamburger well done (cooked to a temperature of 155°F) and send it back if it is undercooked.  Also avoid certain foods – such as sprouts, undercooked meats, and raw oysters – if you are at high risk for food-borne illness. People at high risk for food-borne illness include young children, senior citizens, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.

Let your voice be heard

Tell the food establishment’s manager when you notice food safety concerns, or give a compliment to the manager when you notice safe food handling.

Proper handwashing

Food workers should wash their hands twice after using the restroom - once in the restroom and then immediately upon returning to the kitchen.

Contact Spokane Regional Health District with food safety questions, complaints, and comments.

Report Unsafe Food Handling Practices or Food-Borne Illness
Report Unsafe Food Handling Practices or Food-Borne Illness

Reporting unsafe practices and illnesses helps the health district identify potential food-borne disease outbreaks.

Report Now