It’s the health department’s responsibility to ensure every sip and bite that crosses your customers’ lips is safe for them to ingest. Local laws regulate how frequently foodservice operations are inspected and what specific items inspectors look for. Following the inspection, a report is generated citing violations and giving an overall rating for your operation.
Health inspectors take their job very seriously, as it’s their responsibility to protect the public. At the same time, it’s your job to protect your customers, so food safety is something you should take equally seriously by making it a part of your operation’s culture. Doing so will not only keep food safety top of mind, but it will also help when the health inspector comes knocking. All it takes is a little research and consistent staff training.
First and foremost, research your local requirements and expectations. You can’t meet or exceed the standards if you don’t know what they are. Reach out to your local food safety services and ask for the form an inspector would use. Following that form, hold a mock inspection, unannounced. That will give you a good gauge as to where your operation stands and the severity of each violation. From there, make note of where improvements need to be made and take corrective action. Then, you’ll be ready when the official inspector shows up.
Establishing ongoing employee training for your back-of-house and front-of-house staff will greatly increase your chances of passing a health inspection. Your crew needs to know food safety rules and the appropriate procedures for following them; things like proper hand washing, when hair nets are required and when gloves need to be worn. Continuing education avoids complacency and ensures your team doesn’t fall into bad habits that could result in a ding.
A top-down approach to food safety signifies how important it is. Create a culture of food safety within your organization by leading through example, which could be everything from covering a food safety topic at each staff meeting to setting health inspection goals and tracking progress throughout the year to one-on-one employee coaching as the need arises. While most foodservice operations agree that food safety is important, many fall short when it comes to executing. Don’t let that be you.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and is no substitute for an actual attorney consultation. Always consult your attorney regarding your specific circumstances.