205 W 5th Ave
Ellensburg, WA 98926-2887
Monday - Friday
8 AM - 5 PM
Kittitas (pronounced 'kit-i-tass') County is located in central Washington
State. It spans from the lush forested Cascade Mountains to the upper Yakima River Valley plains and
the Columbia River.
All retail food establishments in Kittitas County, whether temporary or
permanent, are annually permitted and inspected in accordance with WAC 246-215.
These inspections include a compliance review of the kitchen and
food storage areas, checks for proper storage of food, temperature monitoring
for hot holding and cold holding sites/equipment, a review of the dishwashing
facilities, and observation of employee's food handling practices. Equipment is
assessed to ensure operation integrity. All efforts are made to ensure safe food
for the public. If you see a problem or have a complaint about a food
establishment, contact this department for investigation and follow-up. All
complaints regarding potential foodborne illnesses are recorded and
The Environmental Health specialist conducts design reviews and consultations for new or remodeled food service establishments.
Beginning May 1st, 2019 we have a new Temporary Food Establishment Permitting process. All temporary events will apply for permits using the same form, including Farmer’s Market and Fair/Rodeo vendors. There are now four types of events: Type A which occurs when a person prepares or sells foods operating at a fixed location, with a fixed menu, for not more than twenty-one consecutive days in conjunction with a single event or celebration; Type B which occurs when a person prepares or sells foods operating not more than three days a week at a fixed location, with a fixed menu, in conjunction with an approved, recurring, organized event, such as Farmers Market; Type C which occurs when a person prepares or sells foods operating not more than three days a week, for up to a maximum of five different events where all events & event dates must be submitted with application; and Fair/Rodeo which Occurs when a person prepares or sells foods operating at a fixed location, with a fixed menu, for not more than twenty-one consecutive days in conjunction with the fair/rodeo. As before, all applications for Temporary Food Service Permit applications must be received by the Kittitas County Public Health Department on a business day at least 14 calendar days before the first day of the event or a 40% late fee is imposed. Applications cannot be received on weekends or holidays.
New or remodeled food service establishments must submit an application for a permit at least 30 days before the planned opening of
the establishment (WAC 246-215-08310). To apply for a food service permit or temporary food service permit,
visit the Environmental Health Office in person at the address provided
below. For your convenience, the permit application and supporting documents,
which outline the application process, are provided above.
Kittitas County Public Health Office
507 N Nanum St Suite 102
Ellensburg, WA 98926
A Food Handler Permit is required by law to work in a food establishment in the county. To obtain this
permit, food establishment
employees must complete a food handler's course and pass a test. This process takes approximately one
hour, depending on
the person. New food establishment employees have 14 days in which to meet this state requirement for
The food handler's course and test is now available online at www.foodworkercard.wa.gov/.
Make sure you choose Kittitas County as your county of residence.
If you don't have access to a computer with internet and a printer there are several places in the county where you can use a computer:
Monday & Friday 9 AM – 3:30 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM – 5 PM
Wednesday: 11 AM – 7 PM
Thursday: 9 AM – 4 PM
Friday: 9 AM – 3 PM
Saturday: 10 AM – 2 PM
Monday: 10 AM – 7 PM
Tuesday & Wednesday: CLOSED
Thursday: 10 AM – 7 PM
Friday: 10 AM – 6 PM
Saturday & Sunday: 1 PM – 5 PM
Tuesday: 12 PM – 5 PM
Thursday: 12 PM – 5 PM
Saturday: 12 PM – 5 PM
Monday: 10 AM – 6 PM
Tuesday: 11 AM – 6 PM
Wednesday: & Thursday 10 AM – 6 PM
Friday, Saturday & Sunday: 1 PM – 5 PM
Monday – Friday: 8 AM – 2 PM
If you need special accommodations for taking the food handler's course, please contact us at 509-962-7515
to discuss options.
Contact an Environmental Health Specialist II at (509) 962-7515.
Foodborne illness is caused by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Many different disease-causing
or pathogens, can contaminate foods, so there are many different types of foodborne illnesses.
Most foodborne illnesses are infections caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Other
poisonings caused by harmful toxins or chemicals that have contaminated food.
Of note, many foodborne pathogens also can be acquired through recreational or drinking water, from
animals or their environment, or through person-to-person contact.
Common symptoms of foodborne illness are diarrhea and/or vomiting, typically lasting 1 to 7 days. Other
include abdominal cramps, nausea, fever, joint/back aches, and fatigue.
The incubation period (the time between exposure to the pathogen and onset of symptoms) can range from
several hours to
The most commonly recognized foodborne infections are those caused by the bacteria Campylobacter, Salmonella,
and E. coli O157:H7, and by a group of viruses known as the Noroviruses.
Campylobacter is a bacterial pathogen that causes fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. It
is the most
commonly identified bacterial cause of diarrheal illness in the world. These bacteria live in the intestines
healthy birds, and most raw poultry meat has Campylobacter on it. Eating undercooked chicken, or other
that has been contaminated with juices dripping from raw chicken, is the most frequent source of this infection.
Salmonella is also a bacterium that is widespread in the intestines of birds, reptiles and mammals.
It can spread
to humans via a variety of foods of animal origin. The illness it causes, salmonellosis, typically
includes fever, diarrhea
and abdominal cramps. In persons with poor underlying health or weakened immune systems, it can invade
cause life-threatening infections.
E. coli O157:H7 is a bacterial pathogen that has a reservoir in cattle and other animals. Human
follows consumption of food or water that has been contaminated with microscopic amounts of cow feces.
The illness it
causes is often a severe and bloody diarrhea and painful abdominal cramps, without much fever. In 3% to 5%
of cases, a
complication called hemolytic uremic syndrome can occur several weeks after the initial symptoms. This severe
anemia, profuse bleeding, and kidney failure.
Norovirus is an extremely common cause of foodborne illness. It causes an acute gastrointestinal
with more vomiting than diarrhea, which resolves within two days. Unlike many foodborne pathogens that
have animal reservoirs,
it is believed that noroviruses spread primarily from one infected person to another.
The infection is usually diagnosed by specific laboratory tests that identify the causative organism.
found by culturing stool samples in the laboratory and identifying the bacteria. Parasites can be identified
stools under the microscope. Viruses are more difficult to identify, as they are too small to see under a microscope
are difficult to culture. Viruses are usually identified by testing stool samples for genetic markers that
specific virus is present.
There are many different kinds of foodborne infections and they may require different treatments, depending
on the symptoms
they cause. Illnesses that are primarily diarrhea or vomiting can lead to dehydration if the person
loses more body fluids
and salts (electrolytes) than they take in. Replacing the lost fluids and electrolytes is important.
Other treatments can
help the symptoms, and careful handwashing can prevent the spread of infection to other people.
Antibiotics may or may not be used to treat foodborne infections. Many diarrheal illnesses are caused
by viruses and will
improve in 2 or 3 days without antibiotic therapy. In fact, antibiotics have no effect on viruses,
and using an antibiotic
to treat a viral infection could cause more harm than good. Often, it is not necessary to take an antibiotic
even in the
case of a mild bacterial infection. Overuse of antibiotics is the principal reason many bacteria are
Resistant bacteria are no longer killed by the antibiotic. This means that it is important to use antibiotics
they are really needed. Partial treatment can also cause bacteria to become resistant. If an antibiotic
it is important to take all of the medication as prescribed, and not stop early just because the symptoms
seem to be
An outbreak of foodborne illness occurs when a group of people consume the same contaminated food and
two or more of
them come down with the same illness. It may be a group that ate a meal together somewhere, or it may be a
people who do not know each other at all, but who all happened to buy and eat the same contaminated item from
store or restaurant. For an outbreak to occur, something must have happened to contaminate a batch of food
that was eaten
by the group of people. Often, a combination of events contributes to the outbreak.
Many outbreaks are local in nature. They are recognized when a group of people realize that they all
became ill after
a common meal, and someone calls the local health department.
The vast majority of reported cases of foodborne illness are not part of recognized outbreaks, but occur
or "sporadic" cases.
A few simple precautions can reduce the risk of foodborne diseases:
COOK meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Using a thermometer to measure the internal temperature
of meat is a
good way to be sure that it is cooked sufficiently to kill bacteria. For example, ground beef should be cooked
internal temperature of 155°F. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.
SEPARATE: Don't cross-contaminate one food with another. Avoid cross-contaminating foods
by washing hands,
utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch
Put cooked meat on a clean platter, rather than back on one that held the raw meat.
CHILL: Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature, so refrigerate
foods if they are not going to be eaten within 4 hours. Large volumes of food will cool more quickly if they
into several shallow containers for refrigeration.
CLEAN: Wash produce. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables in running tap water to remove visible
dirt and grime.
Remove and discard the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage. Because bacteria can grow well on
the cut surface
of fruit or vegetables, be careful not to contaminate these foods while slicing them up on the cutting board,
leaving cut produce at room temperature for many hours. Don't be a source of foodborne illness yourself.
hands with soap and water before preparing food. Avoid preparing food for others if you yourself have a diarrheal
REPORT: Report suspected foodborne illnesses to your local health department. The local public
is an important part of the food safety system. Often calls from concerned citizens are how outbreaks
are first detected.
If a public health official contacts you to find our more about an illness you had, your cooperation
In public health investigations, it can be as important to talk to healthy people as to ill people. Your cooperation
be needed even if you are not ill.
You can protect yourself first by choosing which restaurant to patronize. Restaurants are inspected
by the local health
department to make sure they are clean and have adequate kitchen facilities. These inspections are
performed on an annual
basis with the original document provided to the establishment and a copy placed in the Health Department's
These files are available to the public through the public disclosure process.
Food Establishment Inspections Online
You can also protect yourself from foodborne disease when ordering specific foods, just as you would
at home. When
ordering a hamburger, ask for it to be cooked to a temperature of 155°F and send it back if it is still
pink in the middle.
Before you order something that is made with many eggs pooled together, such as scrambled eggs, omelets
or French toast,
ask the waiter whether it was made with pasteurized eggs, and choose something else if it was not.
A health care provider should be consulted if a diarrheal illness is accompanied by
Certain individuals, especially those that are young, old, pregnant, or have chronic medical conditions
immune systems, may be at increased risk of complications from a foodborne infection. These individuals should
their health care provider early in their illness for evaluation.
The Kittitas County Public Health Department works in accordance with Chapter 246-215 of the Washington
Administrative Code to provide safety standards for food served or sold to the public in Kittitas County. This includes regular
inspections of all food establishments, and enforcement of these codes. In addition, the
Health Department looks into all foodborne illness complaints and works with the Washington State Department of Health to investigate
Foodborne diseases are largely preventable, though there is no simple one-step prevention measure like
Instead, measures are needed to prevent or limit contamination all the way from farm to table. If you suspect
you have a foodborne illness, please contact the Kittitas County Public Health Department or contact your local
Washington State Department
of Health, Food Safety Program
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The US Food and Drug Administration
Kittitas County has a total area of 2,333 square miles. The highest point in the county is Mount Daniel at 7,959 feet above sea level.