Licensed Mechanical Engineer Supports Restaurants with Ventilation Exemption Letters

Licensed Mechanical Engineer Supports Restaurants with Ventilation Exemption Letters

Engaging a Licensed Mechanical Engineer Facilitates Ventilation Exemption Approvals

The Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health, Consumer Protection Division, published a guideline, “Food Facility Plan Requirements”, to assist new (or remodeld) restaurant business owners meet the California Retail Food Code (CalCode).  The document facilitates obtaining a California Health and Safety Certificate; it does not discuss local planning and zoning requirements, or local fire safety requirements, etc.  See the internet address for further information.  Section 4.P. dictates ventilation standards; most cooking equipment needs hoods and ducts.  However, for smaller food preparation appliances, under certain circumstances, a ventilation hood exception can be granted.  Engaging a Licensed Mechanical Engineer can facilitate obtaining a ventilation exception.


Ventilation Exemption Letters Written by a Licensed Mechanical Engineer

The California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health published in 2009 a public document entitled, “Cooking Equipment Exhaust Ventilation Exemption Guide for the Local Enforcement Agency.”  The full document can be downloaded here: .  Previously, ventilation exemptions were managed by the Food and Drug Branch of the California Department of Public Health.  This authority has now defaulted to the local level (county) Departments of Health.  In Santa Clara County, there have been instances where the Health Department requested that a letter be written by a California Licensed Mechanical Engineer Licensed Mechanical Engineer to ensure that a restaurant’s cooking equipment meets the Ventilation Exhaust Ventilation Exemption requirements.


Only Commercially Rated Appliances Receive Exhaust Ventilation Exemptions

The “Cooking Equipment Exhaust Ventilation Exemption Guide for the Local Enforcement Agency” delineates the specific types cooking equipment that qualify for exemption.  Typical apparatus includes coffee makers, crepe makers (See Fig. 2), small table top ovens, rice cookers, tapioca makers, and countertop toasters (See Fig. 3.).  Note all exempt appliances must be tested by an ANSI Laboratory and be marked accordingly, and they must be commercially rated.  If the equipment is placed in public view, it must be located behind a sneeze guard.


Glew Engineering Has Successfully Helped Several Restaurants Obtain Ventilation Exemptions

A Silicon Valley Engineering firm, Glew Engineering Consulting, located in Mountain View, Santa Clara County, California, assisted several restaurants obtain their Health Department certificate by writing Exhaust Ventilation Exemption letters.  Glew Engineering provides engineering services for computer aided design (CAD), finite element analysis (FEA) and for heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.  Typical customers have included K’s Crepes, (Crepe Maker) Crepes and More (small oven), and Mercado La Torre (tortilla Maker.)  In some instances, it was necessary to work with clients to identify kitchen equipment that met the Ventilation Exemption requirements.  In all cases, the clients were able to successfully obtain the Health Department Ventilation Exemption approval. 

Crepe Maker -

Fig 2.  Crepe Maker Photograph

sandwich press

Fig. 3  Sandwich Press Photograph

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