The Environmental Health Section is responsible for improving and protecting the public health, welfare, and environment through inspection programs, educational outreach projects, and as a last resort, enforcement powers conveyed through the State of Texas Health and Safety Code.
The Sweetwater-Nolan County Health Department Environmental Health Section conducts renewal and routine inspections of public facilities such as restaurants, grocery stores, schools, day cares, etc. The Sweetwater-Nolan County Environmental Health Section will also respond to complaints made by private citizens regarding unsanitary conditions within the county that do not meet current code standards.
Other services available include: sampling of private drinking water at risk for contamination, investigation of food-borne illnesses, control and surveillance of vector-borne diseases, also inspection of private water supplies.
Information for new food establishments and temporary food vendors
There are many requirements to opening a new restaurant. If you are considering opening a food establishment, the best approach is to review the “Texas Food Establishment Rules”. This book contains the guidelines, policy, standards and quality assurance for food establishments. It can be downloaded from the Texas Department of State Health Services at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/foodestablishments/.
There are certain criteria that must be met in order to open for business, you must first Have a Fire and Safety Inspection done by the Fire Marshal at Sweetwater Fire Department, and get an Certificate of Occupancy through the Code Enforcement Office at City Hall, then contact SNCHD and request an application, pay fee, and show proof of a Certified Food Manager Certificate. Following the application process and inspection, you will require paying a yearly fee of $100.00. You cannot open a food establishment without a county health permit.
A temporary food vendor must obtain an application, pay fee, have proof of a Food Handlers Certificate and be inspected before selling consumable goods to the public. It is illegal to setup and sell food without a permit. A temporary vendor is a food establishment that operates for a period of no more than 14 consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration. The fee is $50.00 yearly.
A roadside food vendor is a person who operates a mobile retail food store from a temporary location adjacent to a public road or highway. Food shall not be prepared or processed by a roadside food vendor. A roadside food vendor is classified as a mobile food establishment.
A mobile food vendor is a vehicle mounted food establishment that is readily movable. Serve only food that is prepared, packaged in individual servings, transported and stored under conditions meeting the requirements of these sections.
If you have any questions, please contact Richard Acuña at 235-5463 ext. 1009 or come by the health department.
Documents and Forms:
- Food Service Permit Application (PDF 50K)
- Temporary Food Service Permit Application (PDF 50K)
- Guidelines for a Temporary Food Establishment
- Mobile Food Permit Application (PDF 50K)
- Requirements for Mobile Food Permit
Cottage Food Production Operation
Texas Food Establishment Rules (PDF)