Knox County Tennessee

Food Protection

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The Knox County Health Department’s Food Protection Division works to protect public health and prevent foodborne illness by regulating the production and sale of food in local facilities while educating the citizens of Knox County about good public health practices. Our program is designed to work in partnership with the people who make the day-to-day decisions that actually impact food safety:  the operators and employees of food service establishments.

The Knox County Health Department issues permits to operate food service establishments once they meet all the requirements of the State of Tennessee’s adoption of the 2009 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code. 

Continuing education on food safety is offered in several ways:

  1. Each year, food service establishments receive unannounced routine inspections by Knox County Health Department environmental specialists. Routine health inspections address risk factors related to safe food handling practices. Environmental specialists discuss any recorded violations with operators and initiate corrective education regarding safe food practices.
  2. The Knox County Health Department Environmental Health staff provides educational classes in restaurants, schools and hospitals. As a result of our success and participation with our online training course (, we no longer instruct an in-person food safety class at the health department. If you would like to schedule an Environmentalist to teach a food safety course at your location, please contact us at 865-215-5200 to make your request.

There are 10 health inspectors who monitor approximately 2,498 food service establishments; 542 schools, daycares, and hotels; and 591 swimming pools and tattoo parlors. In 2021, they conducted 6,401 public health inspections, including more than 349 complaint investigations.

Need to submit a complaint? Contact us via email at or by phone at 865-215-5200 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Have Questions?
Call: 865-215-5555

Need to report a public
health emergency?

Call 865-215-5093

On the first Wednesday of every month, all KCHD offices and clinics are closed in the morning for staff in-service. On these days, the main location (140 Dameron Ave.) will open at 11 a.m. and the West Clinic (1028 Old Cedar Bluff) will open at 11:30 a.m.

Clinics will also open at 10:30 a.m. (Main location) and 11 a.m. (West Clinic) on the following Wednesdays: April 17 and July 17. All other offices will open at 8 a.m.