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Retail Food Facility Inspection Information is Available Online

The Department of Environmental Health and Quality's SD Food Info website allows the public to search online for the most recent routine inspection information for all retail food facilities in San Diego County. 

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San Diego County's approximately 14,000 retail food establishments are inspected on a routine basis to monitor compliance with state and local laws, such as the California Retail Food Code (CalCode). Unannounced inspections are performed by a Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS). The REHS provides the facility with a signed copy of the food facility inspection report at the end of the inspection. Under state law each food facility must maintain a copy of the most recent environmental health inspection report onsite, and must make the report available for review by interested parties upon request.

Our inspection methodology prioritizes inspections based on relative risk and ensures the focus of inspections is on food preparation practices and public health interventions.  For a detailed explanation of the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health and Quality's food inspection program, please refer to our Retail Food Facility Operator's Guide.

The Grading System

Counties throughout California inform the public of restaurant inspection results through different methods. 
San Diego County is among a handful of Counties that use a grading system. 

Here's how it works: 
1. Each violation on the Food Inspection Report is assigned a point value depending on its importance. For example, a Major Risk Factor is worth four points, a Minor Risk Factor is worth two, and a Good Retail Practice is worth one.

2. Once the Specialist completes an inspection, the points are added up and subtracted from 100. The resulting number is the inspection "score".

3. A letter grade is assigned to the facility based on the inspection score. An "A" grade means the facility earned a score of 90 to 100 percent and is in satisfactory compliance with state law; a "B" means the facility earned a score of 80 to 89 percent and needs improvement; a "C" means the facility earned a score of 79 percent or less and is a failing grade.

4. The grade card must be displayed near the public entrance during hours of operation.

Compliance and Enforcement

Since each food facility is different, the Food and Housing Division utilizes various tools in our "tool belt" to gain compliance.  We start with education - each food handler in San Diego County is required to receive approved food safety training.  Through inspection of food facilities, the Registered Environmental Health Specialist (REHS) can reinforce food safety principles.

During an inspection, an Official Notice of Violation (NOV) is issued when the REHS determines the facility is not in compliance with the law.  The notice includes the list of violations along with a specified time to correct each violation.  The time period specified to correct the violation(s) depends on the type of violation.

When an imminent health hazard is found, the facility is closed in the impacted areas.  If the facility is required to close, the inspector will replace the grade card with a CLOSED sign, and list the reason for closure on the sign.  A closed food facility must remain closed until written authorization to re-open is given by this department.  All major violations must be corrected or a suitable alternative must be implemented before the facility is granted permission to re-open. The CLOSED sign is then replaced with a grade card.  

Conditions that require closure of a food facility include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Sewage back-up
  • Lack of potable hot/cold water under pressure
  • Power outage for an extended period of time preventing proper holding temperatures of potentially hazardous foods
  • Active vermin infestation
  • Disease transmission

If a specialist observes repeated major violations in a food facility, additional actions are taken.  Actions range from administrative hearings, which require the food facility owner to meet with the specialist and a supervising specialist to develop a plan for improvement, closure on the spot if an imminent health hazard exists, suspension or revocation of the health permit, to criminal or civil penalties.

Terms and Definitions

Inspection Type
(Routine, Re-inspection, Status Verification)

    Routine Inspection: A routine inspection is a site visit that is comprehensive in nature and generally results     in the scoring of the food facility.

    In grocery stores, only open-process food service areas (and the areas of the store used to support the food     service area) are graded. The remainder of the store is reported as a directed inspection. Therefore, there     may be two or more inspections (one routine and one directed) for the same permit on the same date.     Example: The following sections of the market will be scored and graded – Deli, Bakery, Starbucks Kiosk,     Sushi Vendor, etc. The following sections are typically scored “directed” – Meat, Seafood, Produce, General     Grocery, etc.

    Re-inspection: A re-inspection is a site visit to verify compliance with an official notice of violation.

    Status Verification: Appears on FFIS as “other”. An inspection type of “other” is a site visit that is limited in     scope. Typically, a Status Verification is used to verify if a facility is still in operation or requires a change of     ownership update.

Inspection Result
(Approved to Reopen, Complete, No Access, Ordered Closed, Self-Closed)

    Approved to Reopen: The facility was granted permission to re-open by this department after a period of     closure. All major violations were corrected or a suitable alternative was in effect before the facility was     allowed to re-open.

    Complete: A full routine inspection was conducted.

    No Access: During the course of the site visit, the specialist was unable to complete an inspection. This may     have occurred for a variety of reasons. For example, the facility may not have been open for business due     to hours or dates of operation. The specialist may have lacked access to the property.

    Ordered Closed: When a major violation cannot be immediately corrected, or a suitable alternative found,     the food facility may be subject to closure in the impacted areas until the violation is corrected. The food     facility must remain closed until written authorization to re-open is given by this department.

    Self-Closed: Upon arrival to conduct an inspection, the facility did not open their doors during their normal     business hours due to a variety of reasons. For example, employees on-site are making some repairs with     the intention of not opening until repairs are completed. As a result, an inspection was not conducted.

Violation Status
(Out of Compliance-Major, Out of Compliance-Minor, Out of Compliance)    

    Out of Compliance – Major: Under state law, major violations associated with the Centers for Disease     Control and Prevention risk factors require immediate corrective action, a suitable alternative, or the closure     of the impacted areas of the food facility until compliance is achieved.

    Out of Compliance – Minor: Minor violations do not directly cause foodborne illness, but are important     factors in providing safe, wholesome and unadulterated food products. A minor violation does not pose an     imminent health hazard, but if not corrected could possibly lead to an imminent health hazard.

    Out of Compliance: Good Retail Practices (GRPs) are preventive measures that include practices and     procedures that effectively control the introduction of pathogens, chemicals and physical objects into food. If     GRPs are not implemented, they could contribute to foodborne illness.

Reporting an Error

All efforts have been made to ensure that the information provided on this site accurately reflects the inspection reports prepared by DEHQ.  Each inspection report contains inspection data such as the type of inspection, the result of the inspection (usually a score), and, if applicable, the major violation(s) observed.  The data does not become an "error" when the problem/violation on the inspection report is corrected; that dated inspection report is historical data. DEHQ does not update this  site based on submissions by operators stating that violations have been corrected or major violations eliminated. When the facility is inspected/ re-inspected, that data from the most recent inspection report is added to the existing data on the site.  If an error is discovered, the inspection data will be corrected (usually within two business days of notification to DEH). Please contact the FHD Duty Specialist  at (858) 505-6900 to report all errors.

Public Records Request

Food facility inspection reports are considered public information under the California Public Records Act. To obtain detailed information, please complete and return the Food & Housing Division's Public Records Request form to DEHQ.


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