Environmental Health

Environmental Health

Environmental health is an integral part of Minnesota's public health system. Horizon Public Health works on many environmental issues, including natural and man-made disasters, air and water quality, food borne disease outbreaks, and other health safety issues.

Among the most prominent of the services offered by Horizon Public Health is our work with local licensed establishments in Douglas and Pope Counties; we are responsible for the licensing and inspection of all food/beverage, lodging, mobile home park, recreational camping area, public pools, youth camp, and school food establishments in Douglas and Pope Counties. We establish and enforce health standards to ensure clean and healthy conditions in these establishments. We educate the public about food safety.

Meat lockers, bakeries and food service operations which are located in grocery or convenience stores are typically licensed and inspected by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture; if you have any questions or concerns regarding these types of operations, you may contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 1-800-967-2474 or online at www.mda.state.mn.us

Please explore the links below for more detailed information.


Inspection/Licensing/Plan Review


Through our delegation agreement with the Minnesota Department of Health, Horizon Environmental Health is responsible for the licensing and inspection of all food, beverage, lodging, manufactured/mobile home parks, rv parks, public swimming pools/spas, youth camps, and special events in Douglas and Pope Counties.

Inspections

Horizon Environmental Health staff conducts regular inspections at all of our licensed establishments on a regular basis. Inspection frequency of these establishments is based on a risk level assigned to each establishment per Minnesota Statutes. Inspection reports are available via request; please contact (link to contact page) our office to obtain an inspection report. Please note that fees may apply to your request per Horizon Public Health policy to cover our cost for photo copying and staff time.

Licensing

Through our delegation agreement with the Minnesota Department of Health, Horizon Environmental Health is responsible for the licensing of all establishments in our jurisdiction in Douglas and Pope Counties. After initial application, all licenses are renewed on an annual basis (with the exception of Special Event licenses which are issued on an as-needed basis). All licenses expire on December 31 of the year they were issued in. Licenses are NOT transferable between owners or locations.

License Application Process:

1. Contact (link to contact page) our sanitarians for a consultation PRIOR to any change of ownership or new construction.

2. Complete any orders required (if any)

3. Prepare and submit plan review application if required. State law requires plans be submitted to the regulatory authority for review at least 30 days prior to your planned start of construction.

4. Complete license application and submit to our office along with the required fee, prior to opening. State law requires at least a 14 day notice to the regulatory authority before you are planning on opening for business.

5. License application is reviewed by staff; once approved, your license application is processed and your license is released to you. What information will I need to complete the license application? You will need the basic information such as establishment name, establishment location (actual physical address), owner/corporation name, mailing address, worker’s compensation insurance information, and your State of Minnesota Tax ID number and Federal Tax ID number, or your individual social security number if you do not have a tax ID number. Worker’s Compensation Insurance information and tax ID numbers are required to be submitted by Minnesota law.

What information will I need to complete the license application?

You will need the basic information such as establishment name, establishment location (actual physical address), owner/corporation name, mailing address, worker’s compensation insurance information, and your State of Minnesota Tax ID number and Federal Tax ID number, or your individual social security number if you do not have a tax ID number. Worker’s Compensation Insurance information and tax ID numbers are required to be submitted by Minnesota law.

If you are applying for a food license, you will need to have your Certified Food Manager information.

If you are applying for a public swimming pool/spa license, you will need to have your Certified Pool Operator information.

If you are applying for a lodging or manufactured/mobile home or recreational camping area license, you will need to know the exact number of units (rooms, sites) you are applying for.

License Application

Fee Schedule

 

Plan Review

What is a “Plan Review”?

A plan review is the process through which all newly proposed food, beverage, lodging, mobile home park, recreational camping area, public swimming pool/spa, youth camp, school food establishments must go through prior to being licensed. A plan review is required by Minnesota Rule.

Horizon Environmental Health is responsible for plan reviews of all new/remodeled establishments in our jurisdiction (Douglas and Pope Counties) except for public swimming pools/spas – plan reviews for pools/spas are conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health; you can find more information on at the following link: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/pools/poolprinsp.html

Horizon Environmental Health must approve plans before new construction or remodeling may begin. Horizon Environmental Health is responsible for determining what meets code and the standards for construction and materials. For new food/beverage construction, food may not be brought into the establishment and food preparation may not begin until plans have been reviewed, approved, and the establishment is properly licensed by Horizon Environmental Health. Some remodeling projects may require the facility to close during construction. Please consult with Horizon Environmental Health for guidance.

How does the plan review process work?

Plans are reviewed in the order they are received. Horizon Environmental Health has thirty days from receipt of your application to review your plans and specifications. After the plan review is complete, a letter will be mailed to you reporting the findings of the review. Starting construction prior to approval may result in costly corrections and delayed openings.

New Construction: Building a food/beverage service or lodging establishment, either new or in an existing building that has not yet been licensed by Horizon Environmental Health.

Remodeling: Changing equipment, structure, or layout of the existing establishment in an existing building that is currently licensed or has been licensed in the past by Horizon Environmental Health.

● PLAN REVIEW APPLICATIONS/MATERIALS

► Food/Beverage

  • *If you are in need of plan review information/materials for a mobile food unit, food card, or food stand, please contact our office.

Lodging Plan Review Application

Mobile Home Park/Recreational Camping Area Plan Review Application

Special Events


A special event food stand is defined as a food and beverage establishment which is used in conjunction with celebrations and special events, and which operates no more than three times annually (per calendar year, January – December) for no more than ten total days.

Who Needs a Special Event Food Stand Permit? 

Any individual or organization providing food at events that are open to the public must obtain a Special Event Permit from our office, whether the food is served for free or for a charge. Exception: any event held on church property is exempt from this requirement as long as the event is on church property. Exemptions for Faith-Based Organizations

  • How Do I Get a Special Event Food Stand Application?
  • Applications/packets are available from our office; you can contact Melissa Howe to request an application packet, or stop in at 809 Elm Street, Alexandria (Douglas County Public Health) or at 211 East Minnesota Avenue, Glenwood, MN (Pope County Public Health), or you may download the application and materials from this page.

  • When Should the Special Event Food Stand Application be Returned?
  • We recommend the application be returned with the required fee a minimum of three weeks prior to the event, no less than 14 days prior to the event. This allows staff to adequately review the application and make any changes necessary well in advance of the event. If the application is submitted to our office less than 14 days prior to the event, a late fee will be assessed in addition to the regular fee.

  • Special Event Food Stand Application Packet Materials
  • Below are all of the materials needed to make a Special Event Food Stand Application packet. Please be sure to view/download/print ALL of the materials to ensure you are following the correct health protocols to keep your event safe for all attending.

    Do I Need A Special Event License?

    Potluck Events

    Requirements for Special Event Food Stands

    Special Event Brochure

    Hair Restraints

    Guidelines for Temporary Food Operations

    Thawing Perishable Foods

    Temperature Requirements for Potentially Hazardous Foods

    Proper Handwashing

    Temporary Handwash Station

    Hand Sanitizers & Single Use Gloves

    Utensil Washing & Sanitizing

    Sanitizing Solution

    Special Event Preinspection/Self Inspection Form

    Special Event Food Stand Application

    Special Event Cook-Off’s:

    A special event cook-off is a cooking competition where the contestants each prepare dishes for judging either by a select group of judges or by the general public. Cook-offs follow all special event food stand rules. Examples would be events such as a chili cook-off, wing cook-off, or rib cook-off.

    If you are in need of a Special Event Cook-Off application, please contact us.

    Special Event Recreational Camping Areas

    A special event recreational camping area is defined in Minnesota Statute Chapter 327 as “a recreational camping area which operates no more than two times annually for no more than 14 consecutive days”

    Special event recreational camping areas are typically used in conjunction with events such as county fairs, flea markets, music festivals, sporting events, or other community festivals or gatherings.

    If you need a special event recreational camping area license, please contact us.

    Resources


    ● Food Establishments (Restaurants, Bed & Breakfast, Hotels, etc.)

    -Fingernails

    -hair restraints

    -cooling log

    -sanitizer chart

    -temp chart

    -label & date all foods sign

    -store raw meats and eggs lowest sign

    -clean kitchen sign

    -handwashing signs

    -fact sheets

    -food self inspection form

    -employee illness log

    -sick employee reporting requirements

    -illness reporting requirements for food service requirements

    -catering info (?)A

    -link to food code?

    -link to mdh certified food manager page

    ● Public Swimming Pools/Spas

    -pool log

    -pool self inspection form

    -operating a safe public pool fact sheet (cpo)

    -fecal incidence response

    -healthy swimming brochure

    -link to pool code?

    -link to DOLI? (plan review)

    ● Lodging Establishments (ie, Hotels, Motels, Resorts, Bed and Breakfasts)

    -lodging self inspection form

    -employees must wash hands sign

    -link to lodging code?

    -create something for reminding them to check smoke detectors/batteries

    ● Manufactured/Mobile Home Parks/Recreational Camping Areas

    -mhp/rca self inspection form

    -link to mhp/rca code?

    -create a fact sheet on spacing requirements, perhaps signage/posting requirements

    ● Youth Camps

    -youth camp self inspection report

    -link to youth camp code?

    Air Quality


    Horizon Environmental Health’s involvement in indoor air quality is limited to the investigation of complaints involving buildings with some kind of public occupancy and a possible public health threat (such as an apartment building with possible mold contamination) in all five counties (Douglas, Pope, Grant, Stevens, Traverse), along with the enforcement of the Smoking Ban (Freedom to Breathe/Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act) in our licensed establishments in Douglas and Pope Counties.

    Horizon Environmental health does not offer air testing or have air testing equipment available. If you own your own home and think you may have an indoor air quality issue, please visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s “Healthy Homes” at http://www.health.state.mn.us/topics/healthyhomes/ for more information.

    For more information on the Freedom to Breathe/Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s website at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/indoorair/mciaa/ftb/index.html.

    For complaints about smoking in an establishment licensed by Horizon Environmental Health in Douglas or Pope County, contact our office (link to contact info page). To make a complaint about smoking in a smoking prohibited area in any other public space in any of our five counties (Douglas, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, Grant) contact Amy Reineke at Horizon Public health, 320-762-3079 or amyr@horizonph.org

    Water Quality

    Water quality is monitored by several different agencies in Minnesota.

    Horizon Environmental Health does not offer water testing to individual homeowners. If you have concerns regarding water quality, please see the links listed below or contact us and we will assist you in finding the right resources.

    Minnesota Department of Drinking Water Contamination

    Minnesota Department of Groundwater

    Minnesota Department of Well Management

    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – Division of Waters

    Minnesota Pollution Control Agency – Ground Water Monitoring and Assessment:

    Minnesota Department of Agriculture – Monitoring and Assessment of Agricultural Chemicals

    US Environmental Protection Agency – Ground Water and Drinking Water

    Complaints


    If you believe you have become ill after eating at a licensed establishment, not only in Douglas or Pope County, but anywhere in the State of Minnesota, contact the Foodborne Illness Hotline at 1-877-FOODILL (1-877-366-3455).

    If you have a complaint regarding general unsanitary conditions at one of our licensed establishments in Douglas or Pope County, please contact the sanitarians at 320-763-4437, dougb@horizonph.org (Doug Breitkreutz) or
    320-762-2986, kaseyl@horizonph.org (Kasey LaSota).

    If you have a concern/complaint regarding a grocery store, convenience store, meat market/locker, or bakery, contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture at 651-201-6027.

    If you have a concern/complaint regarding a septic/sewer issue in Douglas County, contact Douglas County Land & Resource Management at 320-762-3863; in Pope County contact Land & Resource Management department at 320-634-5715; in Grant County contact Land Management at 218-685-8224; in Stevens County contact Environmental Services at 320-208-6558; and in Traverse County contact Land Management at 320-563-8218, extension 3.

    Public Health Nuisance

    What is a Public Health Nuisance?

    A public health nuisance is defined as “a source of filth, illness, or a potential situation that could cause human illness, that is found on any property affecting the health or welfare of the general public.”

    Examples of a public health nuisance are:

    -rodent infestation
    -meth lab
    -garbage house
    -hoarding

    If you have a concern regarding a possible public health nuisance in any of the Horizon Public Health five county area (Douglas, Pope, Stevens, Traverse, Grant) please contact Jane Michaels, Public Health Supervisor, at 320-762-3051 or at janem@horizonph.org

    Ordinances & Policies


    “Horizon Environmental Health shall initially and annually license all establishments in Douglas and Pope Counties subject to licensing requirements as described in the delegation agreement between the Horizon Community Health Board and the MN Department of Health. No establishment may operate without a current, valid license. Upon recommendation from the Environmental Health Advisory Committee and prior to the annual license renewal cycle, the Horizon Community Health Board, with the consensus of the Douglas and Pope Counties Boards of Commissioners, shall establish license fees for the next calendar year.”

    Annual Establishment Licensing Policy

    “Horizon Environmental Health, in accordance with the current fully executed delegation agreement with the Minnesota Department of Health, shall inspect and license regulated establishments in Douglas and Pope Counties and enforce applicable laws to assure compliance with Minnesota Statutes, Chapters 144, 157, and 327 and Minnesota Rules, Chapters 4625, 4626, 4630, and 4717 and any successor statutes or rules under the scope of the delegation agreement.”

    Inspection and Enforcement Policy

    Ordinances:

    Douglas County Food and Beverage Ordinance

    Douglas County Lodging Ordinance

    Douglas County Mobile Home Park/Recreational Camping Area Ordinance

    Douglas County Pool Ordinance

    Douglas County Youth Camp Ordiance

    Pope County Food and Beverage Ordinance

    Pope County Lodging Ordinance

    Pope County Mobile Home Park/Recreational Camping Area Ordinance

    Pope County Pool Ordinance

    Pope County Youth Camp Ordinance

    Contact Information


    We are located in the Douglas County Service Center, 809 Elm Street, Alexandria MN. The entrance is located right off the parking lot at the south end of the building; this is the same entrance that is used for Public Health and Social Services. You will need to stop at the front desk and ask to see us.

    Our hours are 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. We are closed on weekends and holidays.

    If you would like to speak to one of our sanitarians, their contact information is:

    Doug Breitkreutz, Registered Sanitarian, 320-763-4437, dougb@horizonph.org
    Kasey LaSota, Registered Sanitarian, 320-762-2986, kaseyl@horizonph.org

    If you would like to come in and personally visit with the sanitarians, please call or email first as their jobs very rarely find them in the office.

    If you cannot reach the sanitarians and need to speak to someone right away, you can call the Horizon Public Health main number at 320-763-6018.