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Bed & Breakfast Guide

Last modified: 3/5/2012 11:52 AM

Bed & Breakfast Guide

Adopted by the California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health, September 1994.

Article 17, Restricted Food Service Transient Occupancy Establishments, was added to the California Uniform Retail Food Facilities Law (CURFFL) in 1986 to include bed and breakfast inns (B&Bs) as retail food establishments. Traditionally, B&Bs have been owner-occupied single family homes that rent out a few bedrooms to overnight guests and provide a morning meal. The CURFFL definition expands this concept to include establishments with up to 20 guestrooms. This creates a range of complexity in food service operations. Professional discretion in the application of CURFFL standards is necessary when evaluating health requirements for each establishment.

This guide addresses construction requirements and health standards as they apply to B&Bs and is divided into four parts:

I. Construction Requirements
II. Exemptions
III. Applicable Sections of CURFFL

Additional environmental health considerations of private water systems, private sewage disposal systems, pools and spas are addressed in the question and answer section of the guide. Prospective B&B operators are encouraged to contact other governmental agencies including local building, planning and fire authorities.

Local jurisdictions are encouraged to adopt this guide and reprint it along with information pertinent to their business procedures. Statewide uniformity of interpretation and enforcement will benefit both the regulatory and business communities.


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I. Construction Requirements
The majority of B&Bs are single-family style homes with non-commercial kitchens. Some B&B inns have historic value or are formally recognized historical landmarks. Most have few rooms and limited food preparation. Therefore, professional discretion is necessary when applying construction requirements to B&Bs.
     Since CURFFL permits up to 20 guestrooms in a B&B, facilities with extensive food service may warrant equipment and construction standards similar to those for a full-service restaurant. Local building and fire authorities should also be consulted for construction standards.
     Floors: Must be of durable construction, smooth and cleanable. Coving may be required where extensive food preparation occurs.
     Walls and ceilings: New and replacement walls and ceilings shall be durable, smooth, cleanable and light-colored. Existing walls and ceilings need not meet standards other than those of cleanliness and sanitation.
     Lighting: In most B&B kitchens, domestic incandescent lighting and fluorescent lighting with protective covers are satisfactory.
     Ventilation: Adequate ventilation for cooking equipment must be provided. Where circumstances warrant, mechanical ventilation may be necessary. However, commercial hoods that comply with the Uniform Mechanical Code are not required.
     Refrigeration: Adequate capacity to maintain food at or below 41°F is required, but the refrigerator need not meet NSF International standards. An approved thermometer is required.
     Utensil washing: Where multiservice kitchen utensils are used, B&Bs have to provide one of the following:
     a) a two-compartment metal sink with dual integral metal drainboards, when only single service (disposable) consumer utensils are used
     b) a three-compartment metal sink with dual integral metal drainboards, when multiservice consumer utensils are used
     c) a commercial dishwasher or domestic dishwasher that complies with Section 114400.
     Both multiservice kitchen and consumer utensils may be washed and sanitized in a dishwasher. A domestic dishwasher must be capable of providing heat of at least 165°F to the surface of the utensils. Drainboards are not required for dishwashers.
     Kitchen handwashing facilities: For B&B kitchens built or extensively remodeled after January 1, 1985, a separate handwashing sink in or near the kitchen may be required. For older B&Bs the domestic kitchen sink may be used for handwashing. Soap and towels in dispensers are required.
     Food storage: Adequate, dedicated space shall be provided for the storage of food.
     Plumbing: Food preparation sinks in a B&B need not have indirect sewer connections. However, all plumbing must comply with local plumbing ordinances.

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II. Exemptions
The B&B portion of CURFFL contains exemptions from sections that apply to other food establishments. The intent of the exemptions is to provide less restrictive requirements to facilitate the use of a private home as a B&B. Additional provisions for some sections are specified by CURFFL Article 17 and are noted below in parentheses. The following is a summary of the exemptions:

     114015. A B&B is not considered a private home even though the owner/operator may live on the premises and prepare food there for personal use. (refer to Section 114375)
     114020. A B&B is not required to post signs in toilet rooms located in guestrooms. (refer to Section 114380)
     114045. Pets are allowed in the B&B except for the kitchen, dining rooms, and food storage areas. (refer to Section 114385)
     114065. Food service equipment need not meet NSF International standards. (refer to Section 114390)
     114135. A separate area for employees to change and store clothes is not required. (refer to Section 114395)
     114090. A B&B that uses a commercial or approved domestic dishwasher is not required to provide a two or three-compartment metal sink with drainboards. Drainboards for the dishwasher are also not required. (refer to Section 114400)
     114100. Food preparation sinks need not have indirect sewer connections. (refer to Section 114405)
     114140. Commercial hoods that meet the Uniform Mechanical Code are not required. (refer to Section 114410)
     114155. Existing walls and ceilings need not meet standards other than those of cleanliness and sanitation. (refer to Section 114415)
     114165.(b) A B&B is not required to have a mop sink. (refer to Section 114420)
     114175. Doors or other openings are permitted in a partition that separates the kitchen, dining area, and food storage area from the living or sleeping quarters. (refer to Section 114425)

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III. Applicable Sections of CURFFL
This summary lists applicable portions of the most commonly used Sections of CURFFL which apply to bed and breakfast establishments. An asterisk (*) after the section number indicates that portions of the section have been omitted. The paragraphs in italics paraphrase the referred section of CURFFL for clarity.
     This summary is for information only and is not intended to be used to cite the law. Please refer to CURFFL for the complete text of the law.

Definition of a B&B

     114170."Restricted food service transient occupancy establishment" means an establishment of 20 guestrooms or less, which provides overnight transient occupancy accommodations, which serves food only to its registered guests, which serves only a breakfast or similar early morning meal, and with respect to which the price of the food is included in the price of the overnight transient occupancy accommodation. For purposes of this section, "restricted food service transient occupancy establishment" refers to an establishment as to which the predominant relationship between the occupants thereof and the owner or operator of the establishment is that of innkeeper and guest. For purposes of this section, the existence of some other legal relationships as between some occupants and the owner or operator shall be immaterial.

Definitions of commonly used terms

     113740. "Approved" means acceptable to the department or health authority based on a determination of conformity with current public health principles, practices, and generally recognized industry standards.
     113770. "Equipment" means all cooking units, hoods, cutting blocks, processing machines, tables, refrigerators, sinks, dish machines, steam tables, and other items used in a food facility.
     113775. "Food" means any raw or processed substance, ice, beverage, or ingredient intended to be used as food, drink, confection, or condiment for human consumption.
     113820. "Multiservice utensil" means a utensil manufactured and approved for use more than one time.
     113845. "Potentially hazardous food" means food capable of supporting rapid and progressive growth of microorganisms that may cause food infections or food intoxications. "Potentially hazardous food" does not include edible shell eggs, foods that have a pH level of 4.6 or below, a water activity (Aw) value of 0.85 or less under standard conditions, or food products in hermetically sealed containers processed to prevent spoilage.

CURFFL Requirements

     113980. All food shall be manufactured, produced, prepared, compounded, packed, stored, transported, kept for sale, and served so as to be pure, free from contamination, adulteration, and spoilage; shall have been obtained from approved sources; shall otherwise be fully fit for human consumption; and shall conform to the applicable provisions of the Sherman Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Law (Division 21 (commencing with Section 26000)).
     113995. All potentially hazardous food shall be held at or below 41 degrees Fahrenheit or shall be kept at or above 140 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. A thermometer accurate to plus or minus 2 degrees Fahrenheit shall be provided for each refrigeration unit, shall be located to indicate the air temperature in the warmest part of the unit and shall be affixed to be readily visible. Containers of potentially hazardous food displayed for service may be placed in an ice bed or held by a similar means which maintains the food at or below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. An accurate easily readable metal probe thermometer suitable for measuring the temperature of food shall be readily available on the premises.
     114010. All food shall be prepared, stored, displayed, dispensed, placed, transported, sold, and served as to be protected from dirt, vermin, unnecessary handling, droplet contamination, overhead leakage, or other contamination.
     114015 F(a) No unpackaged food which has been served to any person or returned from any eating area shall be served again or used in the preparation of other food.
     114020. All employees preparing, serving, or handling food or utensils shall wear clean, washable outer garments, or other clean uniforms, and shall keep their hands clean. All employees shall wash their hands and arms with cleanser and warm water before commencing work, immediately after using toilet facilities, and at other times as are necessary to prevent contamination of food. All employees shall wear hairnets, caps, or other suitable coverings to confine all hair when required to prevent the contamination of food or utensils. Employees serving food shall use tongs or other implements, rather than their hands. No employee shall expectorate or use tobacco in any form in any area where food is prepared, served, or stored or utensils are cleaned or stored. No employee shall commit any act which may result in contamination or adulteration of any food, food contact surface, or utensil. The employer shall post and maintain "No Smoking" signs in food preparation, food storage, utensil cleaning, and utensil storage areas.
     When information as to the possibility of disease transmission is presented to an enforcement officer, he or she shall investigate conditions and take appropriate action. The enforcement officer may, after investigation and for reasonable cause, require any or all of the following measures to be taken:
     (a) The immediate exclusion of any employee from the affected food facility.
     (b) The immediate closing of the food facility until, in the opinion of the enforcement officer, no further danger of disease outbreak exists. Any appeal of the closure shall be made in writing within five days to the applicable enforcement agency.
     (c) A medical examination of any employee, with any laboratory examination which may be indicated. Should a medical examination be refused by an employee, the enforcement officer may require the immediate exclusion of the refusing employee from that or any other food facility until an acceptable medical or laboratory examination shows that the employee is not affected with a disease in a communicable form.
     114025. No insecticide, rodenticide, or other poisonous substance shall be stored in any food preparation area, except in a separate enclosure provided for that purpose. All poisonous substances, detergents, bleaches, cleaning compounds, or any other injurious or poisonous material shall be specifically and plainly labeled as to contents and hazardous use and shall be stored only in their original, labeled container. None of these products shall be used or stored in a manner which may cause contamination or adulteration of food, food contact surfaces, or utensils.
     114030. A food facility shall at all times be so constructed, equipped, maintained, and operated as to prevent the entrance and harborage of animals, birds, and vermin, including, but not limited to, rodents and insects.
     114035. Each food facility shall be provided with any facilities and equipment necessary to store or dispose of all waste material. All food waste and rubbish containing food waste shall be kept in leakproof and rodentproof containers and shall be contained so as to minimize odor and insect development by covering with close-fitting lids or placement in a disposable bag which is impervious to moisture and then sealed. Trash containers inside a food facility need not be covered during periods of operation. All food waste and rubbish shall be removed and disposed of in a sanitary manner as frequently as may be necessary to prevent the creation of a nuisance.
     114040. The premises of each food facility shall be kept clean and free of litter, rubbish, and vermin.
     114050. All food facilities and all equipment, utensils, and facilities shall be kept clean, fully operative, and in good repair.
     27612. Frozen food shall be kept frozen except as provided in section 114085.
     114070. Sulfites shall not be added to potentially hazardous foods.
     114080.(a) Adequate and suitable space shall be provided for the storage of food. Except for large or bulky food containers, all food shall be stored at least 6 inches off the floor or under other conditions which are approved.
     114085.(a) All frozen food shall be kept at a temperature which will keep the food in the frozen state until ready for processing or preparation. No food which has been thawed shall be refrozen unless it has been cooked or processed.
       (b) Potentially hazardous frozen foods shall be thawed only:
         (1) In refrigeration units.
         (2) Under potable running water of sufficient velocity to flush loose food particles into the sink drain.
         (3) In a microwave oven.
         (4) As part of the cooking process.
     114090.*(a) All utensils and equipment shall be scraped, cleaned, or sanitized as circumstances require.
     (f) The handling of cleaned and soiled utensils, equipment, and kitchenware shall be undertaken in a manner which will preclude possible contamination of cleaned items with soiled items.
     (g) All utensils, display cases, windows, counters, shelves, tables, refrigeration units, sinks, dishwashing machines, and other equipment or utensils used in the preparation, sale, service, and display of food shall be made of nontoxic, noncorrosive materials, shall be constructed, installed, and maintained to be easily cleaned, and shall be kept clean and in good repair.
     (h) Utensils and equipment shall be handled and stored so as to be protected from contamination. Single-service utensils shall be obtained only in sanitary containers or approved sanitary dispensers, stored in a clean, dry place until used, handled in a sanitary manner, and used once only.
     114095.* An adequate, protected, pressurized, potable supply of hot water, at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and cold water shall be provided. The water supply shall be from a water system approved by the health officer or the state department. The potable water supply shall be protected with a back flow or back siphonage protection device, as required by applicable plumbing codes.
     114100.* All plumbing and plumbing fixtures shall be installed in compliance with local plumbing ordinances, shall be maintained so as to prevent any contamination, and shall be kept clean, fully operative, and in good repair.
     All liquid wastes shall be disposed of through the plumbing system which shall discharge into the public sewerage or into an approved private sewage disposal system.
     114105.* In each food establishment, there shall be provided clean toilet facilities in good repair for use by employees. Toilet rooms shall be separated from other portions of the food establishment by well-fitting, self-closing doors or by other methods approved by the enforcement officer. Toilet rooms shall not be used for the storage of food, equipment, or supplies. Toilet tissue shall be provided in a permanently installed dispenser at each toilet.
     114115.* Handwashing facilities shall be provided within or adjacent to toilet rooms and shall be equipped with an adequate supply of hot and cold running water under pressure. Handwashing cleanser and single-use sanitary towels shall be provided in dispensers at, or adjacent to, handwashing facilities. B&Bs that were constructed or extensively remodeled after January 1, 1985, shall provide facilities exclusively for handwashing within, or adjacent to, each kitchen.
     114145.* Each food establishment shall be fully enclosed in a building consisting of floors, walls, and overhead structure which meet the minimum standards prescribed by this chapter.
     114150.* The floor surfaces in all areas in which food is prepared, packaged, or stored, where any utensil is washed, where refuse or garbage is stored, where janitorial facilities are located, and in all toilet and handwashing areas, shall be smooth and of durable construction and nonabsorbent material which is easily cleaned.
     Where required by the enforcement agency, these floor surfaces shall be coved at the juncture of the floor and wall with a 3/8 inch minimum radius coving and shall extend up the wall at least 4 inches except in areas where food is stored only in unopened bottles, cans, cartons, sacks, or other original shipping containers.
     114160. Adequate and suitable space shall be provided for storage of clean linens, including apparel, towels, and cleaning cloths.
     Soiled linens, apparel, towels, tablecloths, and cleaning cloths shall be kept in cleanable containers provided only for this purpose and shall not be reused until they have been laundered.
     114165.*(a) A room, area, or cabinet separated from any food preparation or storage area, or utensil washing or storage area, shall be provided for the storage of cleaning equipment and supplies, such as mops, buckets, brooms, cleansers, and waxes.
     114170.* In every room and area in which any food is prepared, manufactured, processed, or packaged, or in which utensils are cleaned, sufficient natural or artificial lighting shall be provided to produce an intensity of not less than 215 lux (20 footcandles) as measured 30 inches above the floor. Light fixtures in areas where food is prepared or where open food is stored or where utensils are cleaned shall be of shatterproof construction or shall be protected with shatterproof shields and shall be readily cleanable.
     114160.*(b) The proprietor shall post first aid instructions, which have been approved by the department, in a conspicuous place, which may include an employee notice board, in order that the instructions may be consulted by anyone attempting to provide relief to a victim in a choking emergency.
     114385.* No live animal, bird, or fowl shall be kept or allowed in any portion of the premises where food for the registered guests of the establishment is used, stored, served, offered for sale, or given away. Aquariums and aviaries shall be allowed if enclosed so as not to create a public health problem.
     114390.* The enforcement officer shall have the right to disapprove any new or replacement equipment which would create a public health problem.
     114395.* No person shall store clothing or personal effects in any area used for the storage or preparation of food.
     114400.(a) All utensils and equipment shall be scraped, cleaned, or sanitized as circumstances require.
     (b) At the option of the owner or operator, bed & breakfast inns shall utilize a dishwasher capable of providing heat to the surface of the utensils of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit or a two or three compartment sink shall be used for manual sanitizing in accordance with Section 114090(b) through (e).
     114090.*(b) All food establishments in which food is prepared or in which multiservice kitchen utensils are used shall have at least a two-compartment metal sink with two integral metal drainboards. Additional drainage space may be provided which is not necessarily attached to the sink. The sink compartments and drainage facilities shall be large enough to accommodate the largest utensil or piece of equipment to be cleaned therein. A one-compartment sink which is in use on January 1, 1985, may be continued in use until replaced.
     (c) All food establishments in which multiservice consumer utensils are used shall clean the utensils in one of the following ways:
       (1) Handwashing of utensils using a three-compartment metal sink with dual integral metal drainboards where the utensils are first washed by hot water and a cleanser until they are clean, then rinsed in clear, hot water before being immersed in a final warm solution meeting the requirements of Section 114060.
       (2) Machine washing of utensils in machines using a hot water or chemical sanitizing rinse shall conform to National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards, and shall be installed and operated in accordance with those standards. The machines shall be of a type, and shall be installed and operated as approved by the department. The velocity, quantity, and distribution of the washwater, type and concentration of detergent used therein, and the time the utensils are exposed to the water, shall be sufficient to clean the utensils. The quantity and pressure of rinse water and the time of exposure shall provide bactericidal effectiveness equivalent to that provided by compliance with NSF standards, or more restrictive standards if approved by the department. All new spray-type dish machines designed for hot water sanitizing shall be equipped with a self-sealing temperature and pressure test plug. The test plug shall be located immediately upstream of the rinse manifold in a horizontal position and on the machine exterior.
       (3) A two-compartment metal sink, having metal drainboards, equipped for hot water sanitization, which is in use on January 1, 1985, may be continued in use until replaced.
       (4) Other methods may be used after approval by the department.
     (d) Hot and cold water under pressure shall be provided through a mixing valve to each sink compartment in all food establishments constructed on or after January 1, 1985.
     (e) All utensil washing equipment, except undercounter dish machines, shall be provided with two integral metal drainboards of adequate size and construction. One drainboard shall be attached at the point of entry for soiled items and one shall be attached at the point of exit for cleaned and sanitized items. Where an undercounter dish machine is used, there shall be two metal drainboards, one for soiled utensils and one for clean utensils, located adjacent to the machine. The drainboards shall be sloped and drained to an approved waste receptor. This requirement may be satisfied by using the drainboards appurtenant to sinks as required in subdivision (b) and paragraph (1) of subdivision (c), if the facilities are located adjacent to the machine.
     114405.* Food preparation sinks need not have indirect sewer connections.
     114410* Ventilation shall be provided to remove gases, odors, steam, heat, grease, vapors and smoke from the food establishment. In the event that the enforcement officer determines that such ventilation must be mechanical in nature, such ventilation shall be accomplished by methods approved by the State Department of Health Services.
     114415. All walls and ceilings (and their coverings) must be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. In food preparation and utensil washing areas, only new and replacement walls are required to be of a durable, smooth, nonabsorbent and washable surface, and light-colored.
     114420.* Hot water must be available for janitorial purposes. Waste water from janitorial activities cannot be disposed of in any sink used for washing utensils or for the preparation of food.
     114425.* No sleeping accommodations shall be allowed in any area where food is stored, prepared, or served.
     114430. All food intended for consumption by guests shall be from an approved source. The use of home canned foods and meat and dairy products from unapproved sources is prohibited.