How to Pass a Restaurant Health Inspection
Passing through a health inspection at your restaurant can be daunting. Here’s some advice on passing the inspection with flying colors:
Restaurant managers and owners, are you prepared for a quick health inspection? A restaurant health inspection’s purpose is to guarantee your guests are safe and healthy. To do this effectively, follow regulations when storing, freezing, or cooking food items.
Missing health regulations can have severe financial repercussions. A health inspector may identify violations that could result in fines or even the closure of your business until safety standards are met, and customers may lose trust in your establishment.
However, if your restaurant is run as if an inspection could happen at any moment, then you will always be prepared for an impromptu inspection.
What is a restaurant health inspection?
A restaurant inspection is a comprehensive assessment of the restaurant, staff and food products to detect any potentially hazardous or unsafe substances in production, storage, processing or packaging. This could occur during any stage of production, storage, processing or packaging.
A health inspector will carefully check how food is stored, frozen and cooked. They also inspect your kitchen and storage areas.
What time are restaurant health inspections conducted?
Random food inspections typically occur every six months; however, if a customer complains, a food inspector may visit your establishment as well.
What Are Health Inspectors Searching for?
They want to guarantee your customers are safe from food poisoning and contamination in your restaurant. A health inspector will inspect your establishment for things such as these hazards.
- Storing Uncovered Food
- Containers That Aren’t Appropriate
- No labels on foods with “use-by” dates
- Your employees shouldn’t wear gloves
- Raw ingredients stored underneath dripping meat
- Signs that pets are loved
- Keep cleaning products close to pantry areas
- Temperature control is unavailable
- There is no temperature monitoring log
- Foods containing hazardous substances are available in open containers
- Food handlers who have not kept their food safe
- General cleanliness levels are lacking
They will also ask your staff and managers for knowledge. Restaurant owners must understand all local health codes, while all staff must have current training in food safety that is tested as part of the Food Handler Permit application. In some instances, inspectors may ask questions to confirm this understanding.
What happens if there is a food safety violation?
It is essential not to feel overwhelmed if you are the victim of a violation. Take immediate steps to identify and implement a solution.
Minor violations typically have a timeline to resolve the problem, such as incorrect labeling or unkempt furniture. Depending on the severity of the violation, you may not be penalized financially but the matter will be recorded and subject to follow-up inspection.
Now is the perfect time to educate your employees, stress the importance of food safety, and assess their knowledge.
You could face a fine and be required to shut down your business until the issue is resolved.
Your restaurant could be forced to close permanently if you fail to adhere to food safety regulations. Violations may even be posted publicly on the website of your local health department.
Some examples of serious food safety violations include, but are not limited to:
- Unsafe sources;
- Proper storage (hot and cold);
- Sick restaurant staff;
- Inadequately prepared food (especially when it is undercooked);
How to stay informed on current food safety guidelines.
Restaurant owners may find it challenging to stay abreast of changes in food safety regulations, particularly when they open new locations outside their home state or province.
Janilyn Hutchings is a StateFoodSafety Food Scientist and certified professional in food safety. Here are seven strategies for passing a restaurant inspection.
To be fully prepared for your health inspection, it’s best to live as if every day is a health inspection. Here are some helpful tips:
Every employee should possess a Food Handler’s Permit.
A Food Handler’s Permit, also referred to as an Employee Health Permit, is a permit that verifies each member of your staff has obtained and passed their food safety certificate. This permits guarantees your restaurant meets all regulations regarding sanitation, storage, protection and preparation related to food products.
Even if your area does not require food safety training for employees, it is wise to still impart this knowledge.
Prioritize Your Goals
Every restaurant has its own rules. Make sure all employees, both front- and back-of-house, are on the same page when it comes to cleaning expectations at each stage of food preparation and serving – including temperature requirements, cross contamination risks, and personal hygiene practices. Establish clear expectations and priorities for cleaning at each stage so everyone is on the same page.
Establish a daily maintenance plan
Make sure everyone on staff knows who is accountable for keeping the place clean. This includes cleaning out bathrooms, freezing, and refilling hand sanitizer as needed.
Over time, local laws and codes of health may change. Make sure your staff is aware of these updates by offering stand-up trainings regularly to refresh them on important principles.
Visual cues that you cannot ignore
Consider hanging food safety posters in your kitchen or break room as a permanent reminder of important principles such as proper handwashing techniques and safe cooking temperatures.
Establish a regular cleaning schedule
Although it may seem obvious, your restaurant should maintain a regular cleaning schedule. Both front-of-house and back-of-house staff should dedicate an hour to tidying up after each service.
- You are in control of conducting your own inspections.
- Managerial inspections are the best way to keep employees motivated and on task.