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The Food Standards Agency's Hygiene Ratings Scheme has now been adopted by most local authorities. This brings increased public awareness of YOUR hygiene rating. With excess of 300000 food service businesses displaying their food hygiene rating in their premises there is increased potential for a health inspection to make or break the future of your business. So, whilst it may be tempting to overlook a few minor health violations in the hopes that inspectors will not visit today, the best practice is to treat every day as the day an inspector will show up. The ideal way to prepare for an inspection is by performing a routine self-inspection every week. Here are three ways you can start preparing for it now:
Have the proper tools
Have and use the same tools the inspectorex use. Some common tools inspectors carry include a flashlight, clipboard, alcohol wipes, chemical test strips, inspection forms and a meat thermometer. (In the case of industrial manufacturing, that list may be longer.) Create your own inspection kit and use it.
Everything in your kit should be kept organized and in working order. When it comes to thermometers, it's important to keep them clean, calibrated and readily available. Wipe the probes clean after each use, keep the housing clean by wiping away any grease or grime and calibrate (if needed) once a week with an ice bath.
During an inspection, health officials will often ask employees questions about the task they are currently performing. In the case of a chef, inspectors will ask about recommended minimum internal temperatures. This may include the recommended temperatures for chicken, fish, beef and ground meats.
Ask any staff task oriented and safety questions throughout the week. This will keep the knowledge fresh in their minds and help gauge if your training techniques are effective. Making available recommended temperature charts is also a great way to ensure that your staff are ready for temperature questions.
Check the records
A good inspector will ask for employee illness, hand washing, training, temperature and HACCP records to ensure that you are monitoring safety practices properly . Taking time to check these records yourself keeps them in order and on-hand for when the inspector arrives.
Having plenty of thermometers is crucial. When the time comes to record temperatures, you won't want your employees scrambling to find one. It's always a good idea to have at least 10 thermometers on hand. One in every chef's jacket, a few for the prep area and one to keep in the office. The more thermometers you have, the better able you'll be to ensure that temperatures are being taken.
There's no crystal ball that will tell you when an inspector is going to show up. You must always be ready. If you create an atmosphere that breeds health and safety, there's no doubt - when the time comes - you'll be prepared to pass and get thar 5 star rating to display on your door!