Local public health departments across the country regularly inspect restaurants and other businesses that serve food to the public. These inspections are based on health regulations that apply to the preparation, processing, production, packaging, and storage of food products. They aim to improve food safety and protect consumers from the threat of foodborne diseases.
How Often Do Restaurant Health Inspections Take Place?
Typically, full-service and fast-food restaurants are inspected twice a year, whereas seasonal restaurants are inspected at least once a year.
What Will Restaurant Health Inspectors Look For?
Health inspection guidelines vary from state to state. Nonetheless, inspectors typically check for:
- Appropriate freezing of foods
- “Use by” labels
- Cross-contamination between cooked and raw products
- Temperature regulation of freezers and coolers
- Sign of pests
- Cleanliness of ceilings, walls, and floors
The role of the food inspector is to enforce food regulations and educate restaurant owners and staff on proper food safety techniques. Make sure that your team is aware of the correct food handling techniques.
What Happens When a Restaurant Fails a Health Inspection?
For minor violations such as unkempt furniture or improper labeling, you will be allowed to rectify the error. However, for major violations such as sick restaurant staff and contamination, you may be fined or required to close your establishment until you sort out the violation. Note that your health inspection grade will be available to the public through the health department’s website. Depending on your city’s local laws, you may need to display the grade at your restaurant. Moreover, Yelp now includes health inspection scores in its restaurant listings.
How to Ace a Restaurant Health Inspection
To stay ahead of a restaurant inspection, you need to prepare a health inspection checklist and treat each day as an inspection day. To this end, you should:
Set expectations – Spell out your cleanliness standards and priorities in the employee handbook and ensure your staff complies.
Delegate maintenance schedule – Ensure each employee is aware of their duties regarding cleaning floors, walk-ins, counters, and other spaces.
Comply with food handler license requirements – In some states, all employees are required to have a food handler license.
Comply with food manager’s certification requirements – In some states, at least one employee is required to have a food manager’s certification.
Place food safety notices in visible areas – These will remind staff of safety measures like optimum cooking temperatures and hand washing.
- Train your employees – Ensure your employees are regularly trained on state-specific and FDA food safety standards.
Quiz the staff – Regularly quiz your staff on safety regulations and conduct refresher training if necessary.
Inspect your restaurant – Think of yourself as a customer and review your restaurant. Alternatively, ask a trusted third party to evaluate it and provide you with honest feedback.
Internal surprise inspections – Periodically conduct unannounced inspections and remedy any violations.
Review previous inspections – Past inspections reports can guide you on the improvements you need to make.
Correct employee mistakes – Point out and correct employee mistakes regarding food safety.
Review food code – Ensure you’re aware of the latest food safety requirements and that your procedures are up to date.
At Humble & Davenport Insurance, we can help you find restaurant insurance in Seattle, WA, that will protect you from a wide range of risks. Contact us today for a restaurant insurance policy that suits your needs and budget