How should you prepare for an inspection?
Be prepared for inspections at your restaurant by becoming more knowledgeable about the regulations and foodservice industry. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the upcoming inspection.
1) Review Your HACCP Plan. A Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plan (HACCP) is one useful tool in prepping for a HACCP inspection. HACCP is an system that detects where contamination risks are greatest in cooking, so you can take steps to prevent contamination once identified.
2 – Be familiar with common violations of the health code in restaurants, such as cross-contamination and temperature restrictions.
3: Connect with your local government to discover which regulations and forms are utilized for health inspections. By doing this, you’ll be able to recognize what they’re searching for.
4 Conduct random self-inspection at unannounced hours to ensure all employees are prepared for health inspections. Review the results of your self-inspection with employees and then discuss any violations with them.
5) Ask your employees safety questions regarding the tasks they are performing so you are ready for any health inspector inquiries. Inquire them what color food storage containers should be used when storing seafood, poultry and vegetables to avoid cross-contamination.
6 Stay Ahead of the Curve. Maintain control over food storage and preparation even after you’ve completed self-inspection. Make sure your managers are informed about recent advancements in food safety so they can follow along when you’re away.
What to Expect During a Health Inspection
Preparing for your health inspection begins with knowing what questions the inspector will ask and taking note of any pertinent details.
When an inspector from the Department of Public Health comes to your premises for an official health inspection, there are certain things you should and shouldn’t do.
- Confirm the credentials of any inspector you meet. This should be provided to you by them; if not, inquire further. To avoid being scammed by someone seeking free business information, call your local health department for confirmation.
- Follow the inspector to observe violations in restaurants first-hand and correct them on-the-spot. Although these corrections will be noted as having been completed on-the-spot, having an out of compliance restaurant may be more appealing to potential customers than having one that’s in full observance.
- Signing inspection reports does not indicate your agreement with them; rather, it demonstrates that you have received a copy.
Get clarification if an issue is unclear..
- Do not refuse an inspection. The inspector will return shortly with an official warrant for further evaluation.
- Any food or drink can be offered to an inspector. In order to influence their report, be friendly and cordial.
What to do after a health inspection:
Your restaurant will receive a score after inspection. Your score shouldn’t come as a shock if you followed the inspector throughout their evaluation of your establishment. Becoming familiar with the restaurant scoring system helps ensure you comprehend it fully and how it impacts your business operations. Once you understand why the score exists, it becomes easier to address any violations identified.
Understanding Health Inspection Scores
Do you understand your health inspection scores? If not, here is some insight:
When rating restaurants, there are two primary systems: points-based and letter grade. Which system is used depends on which local or state health department conducting the inspection. Restaurant health violations can be classified as either critical or noncritical, as well as high-risk or low-risk depending on which department conducts it.
System of Letter Grades
Restaurants typically receive letter grades as A, B or C for their compliance with food regulations. Inspectors add up points based on severity and number of violations against a restaurant’s health code and convert that number into a letter grade. This simplified scoring system makes it easier for customers to comprehend scores.
“(A) Good” One or several low-risk offenses could easily become one high-risk one.
“(B) Adequate Multiple Low and High Risk Violations”
“(C) Needs Improvement/Poor” Many low and high risk offenses need improvement or are in need of improvement.
Correction of Health Code Violations
A poor health inspection result can have detrimental effects to your business, especially since customers are more easily able to identify and understand violations of health inspection. If your establishment is found guilty of either high- or low-risk violations, here are steps you should take:
- If your establishment receives a poor score on its health inspection, you can request a re-inspection. This usually takes between 5 and 45 days and provides the opportunity to remedy violations and determine what caused each one and how best to prevent future ones from happening.
- Self-inspection should always be discussed with your staff and corrective actions taken.
If you are not satisfied with the violation, you have the option to appeal it. Reaching the supervisor of the inspector by calling your local health department may provide assistance in this regard.