Health Inspector

Ten Tips to Help You Pass Your Health Inspections

Are you and your staff prepared for a surprise visit from the health inspector today?

Foodservice Health Inspections managers know the best strategy is to always be prepared. Here are 10 tips from San Jamar-Chef Revival to help you get ready for a health inspection.

Food must be chilled according to an established method, which requires that the temperature inside be reduced from 70 degrees Fahrenheit in two hours and then back down to 70 degrees F within four hours.

Food must be protected against contamination when stored, prepared, transported, displayed or served. Instead of using an unsanitary towel to wipe down cutting boards with antislip grips, opt for cutting boards with anti-skid grips.

After each use and after any contamination, surfaces that come into direct contact with food should be cleaned. Different colored pails can be used for this purpose.

To guarantee proper sanitation, accurate thermometers and a test kit must be available.

Maintain personal hygiene is essential to prevent contamination of outer garments or food getting into your hair.

Hand hygiene must include soap and drying tools.

HACCP requires food storage to be done correctly, labeled accurately and covered according to HACCP requirements.

Maintain the temperature of cold foods when serving them. A convenient option is using food pans with gel that can be frozen.

Ice containers and scoops should also be protected from contamination during storage, transport, or service.

To prevent burns or cuts that could spread infectious diseases, gloves and mitts should be worn on the arms and hands.

What Do Health Inspectors Look For in a Restaurant?

Preparing for a health inspector doesn’t have to be intimidating. StateFoodSafety wants to make your job simpler by providing you with an inspection checklist that the health inspector may use when visiting your restaurant.

This checklist can be used to conduct regular self-inspections at your business. Self-inspection will reinforce the importance of adhering to food safety regulations, as well as giving employees a chance to prepare for an actual inspection.

Preparing Food

Employees are well-informed about potential food hazards and how to minimize them.

Prior to serving fruits and vegetables, they must be washed.

Naturally occurring physical hazards (bones, seeds, etc.) must also be removed before food can be served; otherwise, health hazards such as salmonella may arise during preparation.

  • Food preparation requires the use of gloves or utensils that prevent bare hands contact.
  • To minimize contamination in case of an accident, there is a protocol.
  • You can discard potentially contaminated food and have your preparations restarted.
  • Unpackaged food taken from the dining area will be discarded.
  • Only approved sources can be used to purchase food products.
  • Food should be clean and free from signs of contamination or spoilage.
  • Food storage arrangements will also be reviewed.
  • Food should always be stored in proper, non-toxic containers in cool and dry locations.
  • Food packaging must remain free from dents, tears or rust.

Perishable foods should be stored according to their cooking temperature; lower shelves usually have lower temperatures while those on lower shelves will experience the highest.

When selecting items, the principles of First in, First out (FIFO) are applied.

Employee Hygiene

After using the bathroom, changing their gloves or touching contaminated surfaces, employees should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • Employees can do this in both restrooms as well as sanitation stations.
  • Disposable gloves are frequently worn by employees and need to be changed out periodically.
  • Employers use beard and hair coverings.
  • Employees also practice important hygiene habits such as wearing clean uniforms, washing their hands frequently, having clean nails, and covering jewelry, cuts, and scrapes.
  • Furthermore, the establishment is free from tobacco products.
  • Employees have access to separate eating and break areas away from food preparation areas.

When employees experience symptoms or test positive for communicable disease, they will be asked to refrain from coming to work.

Facility setup

  • There are separate hand sinks, mop sinks and a three-compartment dishwashing basin.
  • Hot water can be provided at 100degF or 110degF for hand sinks or three-compartment sinks.
  • Additionally, all waterproof material used around sink splash areas is waterproof as well.
  • To prevent backflow, faucets should be set at an appropriate height above the sink.
  • Each sink has a functioning plumbing system and water drains correctly; there is no leakage from these fixtures.
  • Sanitizer lines also feature anti-backflow mechanisms installed for added safety.
  • Proper lighting is necessary for food preparation and delivery.
  • Light fixtures should be covered in case of shattering.
  • Bathroom facilities must be in good working order so that they can only be used as a bathroom.
  • Bathroom stalls must also be lockable with self-closing mechanisms.
  • The bathroom is fully stocked with soap, toilet paper, disposable towels and air dryers.

The facility has adequate ventilation.

  • Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have been installed throughout the building for added safety.
  • Industrial equipment requires plenty of room below for cleaning purposes, while food establishments do not have living quarters.
  • All surfaces are smooth and easily scrubbed clean.
  • All equipment meets ANAB standards and is kept in excellent condition.
  • After each use, make sure all eating utensils have been washed properly using either a commercial dishwashing machine or three-compartment basin.
  • When chemicals or cleaning products are being used, keep them away from food surfaces.
  • Afterward, clean all surfaces thoroughly.
  • Chemicals must be clearly labeled and stored separately from food storage areas.
  • Use approved chemical test strips to evaluate sanitizer effectiveness.

Pest Control

  • To prevent pests from getting inside, all holes that allow piping or other equipment should be sealed securely.
  • Dumpsters should be situated on a flat surface with good drainage and at least 50 metres from the establishment. They should then be regularly cleaned and kept tidy.
  • Regular trash disposal takes place, with no overflow of waste containers and all containers securely covered.
  • No signs of cockroach, rat, or fly infestation have been observed.
  • Food shelving should be at least 6 inches above the ground and away from walls where possible.
  • Other than service animals and tanks of fish, no live animals exist within the establishment except service animals and tanks of fish.
  • To prevent pests from entering the facility, doors are automatically shut off.
  • In order to reduce food contamination and create a hazard, approved pesticides must be used correctly.


  • All employees have obtained all required food safety certifications.
  • Signs that clearly display no smoking, first aid and restaurant permits are essential. Furthermore, make sure the HACCP plan has been created and displayed appropriately by the establishment.
  • All suspected cases of foodborne illness have been reported directly to the health department.

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