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Office of Food Protection

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Food Protection

The Office of Food Protection works to ensure a safe and healthy food supply, and to reduce the number of people in Philadelphia who get sick from food-borne diseases.

We inspect food businesses, enforce food-related ordinances, regulate food handling practices, and educate food handlers about food-borne diseases.

We also work closely with new business owners to help them comply with the City’s requirements for food businesses.

Please contact us at (215) 685-7495 if you:
  • think you have gotten sick from a food business
  • have a complaint about a food business
  • need an inspection for your food business


Farmers' Markets » 
We work with Philadelphia farmers’ markets to help ensure food safety and promote best practices. Learn more about how we support market operators and vendors.

Food Safety Inspections » 
Do you have questions about food safety at a Philadelphia restaurant?  Search our database of inspection reports issued since February 2009.

Support for Food Businesses » 
Every food business in Philadelphia must comply with local zoning ordinances, the local building code, and the health code. Learn how we can help ease the regulatory process.

Laws and Regulations » 
We enforce laws and regulations that affect food businesses in Philadelphia. Find out how we protect the public's health by regulating certain foods and business practices.

Food Safety and Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is more serious than many people realize.  Each year in the US, one in six people, or about 28 million people, get sick from food poisoning. 

Most people who get food poisoning will recover without any lasting effects from their illness.  For others, however, the effects can be devastating and even deadly.  Serious long-term effects associated with several common types of food poisoning include: kidney failure, chronic arthritis, brain and nerve damage and death.

The most common cause of food poisoning is harmful bacteria.  Other causes include viruses, parasites, toxins and contaminants. 

Food usually becomes contaminated from poor sanitation or preparation. Food handlers who do not wash their hands after using the bathroom or have infections themselves often cause contamination. Improperly packaged food stored at the wrong temperature also causes contaminations.

Almost any kind of food can cause food poisoning. In the past five years, foodborne illnesses have been identified as being caused by many commonly served items including bagged spinach, peanut butter, pine nuts and canned chili sauce.

Find out more about foodborne illnesses.