Food Facility Risk Categories

Fact Sheet Table of Contents

What are risk categories?

Risk categories are used to classify food establishments. These categories are based on factors that contribute to foodborne illness which include:

  • types of food served
  • preparation steps required to prepare food
  • amount of food prepared
  • population that is served

Why classify an establishment based on risk?

To better use our resources, frequency of inspections is determined by the risk type. Higher risk establishments are given more inspections and service than lower risk types. Also, annual food service sanitation permit fee is based on the risk type.

Annual Food Service Sanitation Permit Fee

Risk Type 1

Prepackaged potentially hazardous foods only. Limited preparation of nonpotentially hazardous foods. It includes seasonal operations, less than six months.

Risk Type 2

Limited menu, i.e., one or two main items. Pre-packaged raw ingredients are cooked or prepared to order. It includes retail food operations but excludes deli, seafood and/or vacuum packaging operations.

Risk Type 3

Raw ingredients require minimal assembly. Products are cooked/prepared and served. Hot and cold holding of potentially hazardous foods is restricted to single meal service. Preparation processes requiring cooking, cooling and reheating are limited to one or two potentially hazardous food items. It includes most fast food operations, childcare facilities and schools.

Risk Type 4

Extensive handling of raw ingredients. Preparation processes include the cooking, cooling and reheating of potentially hazardous foods. Processes also require hot and cold holding of potentially hazardous foods. Advance preparation for next day service is limited to no more than two items. It includes retail food store deli, seafood and vacuum packaging operations.

Risk Type 5

Extensive handling of raw ingredients. Preparation processes include the cooking, cooling and re-heating of potentially hazardous foods. Processes also require hot and cold holding of potentially hazardous foods. Advance preparation for next day service is includes three or more food items. This category also includes hospitals and nursing homes.

Note: A non-governmental organization that has Illinois not-for-profit status and does not charge for services are exempt from paying a fee but are still categorized and inspected based on their risk type.