4 Tips to Pass Your Next Health Inspection
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Posted by Sarah B. on December 20, 2016 in Merchant Focus

No one wants to be inspected—but it is a necessary evil in the restaurant business. The word inspection means “careful examination or scrutiny,” and that scrutiny can make it feel like the inspector is searching for flaws and errors to set you up for failure. It’s normal to feel defensive of your operations when someone is looking for shortcomings, but working with inspectors is necessary and can lead to a better outcome in the long run. Only thinking about inspections when they happen is a recipe for disaster. You need to be prepared for an inspection before you even know the inspector might be coming.

 

The below tips can help you prepare for and pass your next inspection.

 

Before inspection

  • Prepare your staff. Make sure everyone in your organization takes food safety seriously and knows the procedures. The worst violations are those that compromise food safety. Set expectations high for everyone working with food. Focus on hand washing, cooking food to proper temperatures, and avoiding cross contamination. Require everyone who comes in contact with food to be trained on appropriate procedure.
  • Ensure everyone is on the same page. It shouldn’t matter who is manager at the moment, what shift it is, or who is in the kitchen. The same standards and practices should be maintained at all times.
  • Audit your own establishment. Walk through your business with the same form an inspector would use. Examine your organization carefully and try to find potential issues. If you find problems, correct them before an inspector has the opportunity to point them out.

 

During inspection

  • Be confident, polite, and professional. The inspector will ask a lot of questions. When you know the answer, respond honestly and confidently. If you don’t know the answer, feel free to say you need to ask someone. Inspectors will sometimes ask a question and then stay silent after you provide your answer. Don’t feel like you need to fill the silence with more information.
  • Walk with the inspector and listen carefully to his or her concerns. If you can, immediately fix violations the inspector finds. It will show you care about resolving problems in your business.
  • Take detailed notes about violations. When the violations don’t make sense to you, ask for clarification. You may also want to ask for suggestions on how to potentially fix issues.

 

After inspection

  • Go over violations with everyone who comes in contact with food. Even if you can fix them during the inspection, discuss all violations with staff to ensure they don’t happen again.
  • Follow up with the inspector. Once you’ve fixed violations, provide your inspector with the changes you’ve implemented.
  • Get involved. Local government often has committee positions available specifically for business presence. Serve on committees and give your own point of view on health code, regulation, and inspection guidelines.

 

Handling an inspector inside your business can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. By staying involved in the whole process and  preparing ahead of time, you can save yourself a lot of time and headaches.

 

This post was written by Beth L. Beth L. is a Regulatory Affairs Analyst at Acuity where she specializes in researching regulations, understanding statutes, and working with compliance.. She studied regulation, policy, environmental studies, and business administration at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Beth has received degrees in in public administration and environmental policy and planning, and also has a certification in environmental sustainability in business. Outside of work Beth likes to run, cook, and play with her dog, Butter. 

 

Sources:

http://www.restaurant.org/Manage-My-Restaurant/Food-Nutrition/Food-Safety/Follow-up-from-a-health-inspection

http://www.restaurant.org/Manage-My-Restaurant/Food-Nutrition/Food-Safety/Nine-tips-to-prepare-for-a-health-inspection

http://www.restaurant.org/Manage-My-Restaurant/Food-Nutrition/Food-Safety/What-to-do-when-a-health-inspector-visits

http://www.restaurant.org/Manage-My-Restaurant/Operations/Regulatory-back-office/7-tips-for-working-with-health-inspectors

Sarah B. is our Retail guru
Sarah B. came to Acuity this year with a background in retail. She studied Interior Architecture in college and completed an online business education program through Harvard Business School. She also has a wide range of commercial insurance experience and has earned her Associate in General Insurance (AINS), Associate in Insurance Services (AIS), and Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designations. This made her the perfect addition to the Acuity Mercantile team. If she could travel anywhere in the world, she would return to Italy. She spent three weeks there during college studying architecture and design and has wanted to go back ever since.


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