NYC Department of Health Regs Food Safety Attorney

NYC Department of Health

Food Safety Attorney

Restaurant owners in New York City and across NY state are universally familiar with the challenges that come with remaining in compliance with the hundreds of Department of Health state and city regulations in New York. Health Department regulations apply to brick and mortar businesses, food trucks, vending machines, food carts, stadium facilities and more, and failure to comply can result in:

  • Lack of permission to open a new business
  • The forced closing of a business
  • Fines
  • The listing of instances of noncompliance on the popular Restaurant Inspections website of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (with apps now available for iPhones and iPads)
  • A posted letter grade of B or C in New York City (an A denotes a top score)


Though Department of Health regulations can be frustrating and even infuriating, it can help to bear in mind that the regulations and the departments themselves exist to promote healthfulness throughout New York City’s 24,000 restaurants, and in restaurants throughout the state. If you are considering opening a new food service business or need to remain in compliance as an existing business, it makes sense to focus on Department of Health's key concerns:

  • Opening a new business: following the permit process properly, following Department of Health guidelines regarding the designing of a food service facility and following guidelines which involve surface finishes, plumbing, equipment and almost all aspects of a building’s physical space
  • Operating a business: food safety, the posting of calorie counts, and public signage
  • Training: most health departments provide online and classroom tutorials regarding safety, the reduction of food-borne illnesses, and certification in proper food protection and preparation
  • Inspections. In New York City, every restaurant is scheduled for an unannounced inspection annually. New York City and state Department od Health websites provide information regarding what to expect, self-inspection/prep tips and violation settlements
  • Posting of letter grades (A through C).Since July of 2010, restaurants in New York City have been required to post the “grade” of their sanitary inspections accurately and in a prominent place. Information regarding New York City letter grades can be found here.


Importantly, both NY State and city health departments most often post their entire health code and regulations on their websites. Common areas of concern include:

  • Sources of food
  • Prevention of hazards
  • The sanitary preparation of food
  • Trans fat
  • Food storage and temperature regulation
  • Hygienic standards
  • Lighting and ventilation
  • Plumbing and the provision of sinks for hand washing
  • Employee and patron rest rooms
  • Pest management
  • Live animals
  • Waste disposal
  • Dishwashing
  • Outdoor food operations


Though compliance with Department of Health regulations can seem like a diversion from your true mission of running a successful and efficient food service business, it is actually an essential component. The diligence required to remain in compliance and to earn the scores and grades that New York City residents are quickly learning to check for leads to more healthful restaurants as well as the avoidance of the disruptions can result from Department of Health code violations. 

Law Offices of Mitchell S. Segal, P.C. assists clients with all legal matters relating to establishing and running a restaurant, bar or franchise throughout New York, including Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island.

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