Who Conducts Them?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as health protection agency for the United States, is responsible for the enforcement of sanitation food preparation practices, all in an effort to prevent public health threats. With locations in each state, the CDC conducts initial and periodic inspections for all public food establish to assure that all health standards are being adhered to. Let’s take a look at how to prepare your restaurant for these food inspections.
What to Expect
Before opening your doors to the public you will need to pass inspection from your local health department in order to receive a license-which is required to be posted on your premises. Inspections are typically given annually, but can be more frequent and without any notice. Once the inspector arrives they will walk through your entire premise to check conformity as outlined by the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system. HACCP is a control system that identifies specific hazard areas in food establishments and methods for their control.
Inspectors may ask questions regarding equipment, processes, food storage, pest control-anything. Once the inspection is complete you will be required to sign the report, and in some states you can actually view your report online.
How To Prepare
Running an food establishment that continuously enforces the appropriate food preparation and sanitation procedures as outlined per local health code standards is really your best way to be prepared for inspections. Let’s take a look at the main areas of operation that are inspected:
- Food Storage Safety Requirements
- Appropriate Food Labels
- Food Temperature Relationships
- Food Contamination Protection (Storage/Packaging/Hands)
- Food Vendor Licenses/Certifications
- Waste Facilities and Disposal Procedures
- Pest Infestation
- Food Testing Devices
- Bathroom Facilities Maintenance
- Cleaning Procedures
- Food Preparation/Cooking/Serving Procedures
- Plumbing System Conditions
- Food Utensils and Serving Supplies
- Adequate Lighting and Fixture Covers
- Equipment Maintenance and Functionality
- Staff Cleanliness and Hygiene Practices
- Facilities Cleanliness
- Ventilation/Exhaust System Compliance
- Signs/Marquees Properly Posted
- Water Temperature & Filtration Settings
- Building/Zoning Compliance
The inspector will also make note of any findings that are unsatisfactory and if you receive any violations, while you have the right to appeal, chances are you’ll receive another inspection (without notification) to verify that the violations have been fixed-if they were not fixed during the inspection. If you’re establishment has violations that the inspector deems as major health hazards your restaurant will be forced to close until the conditions are corrected.