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Written By MartinCorbett

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Passing a Restaurant-health Inspection: What Look for

A restaurant’s success is dependent not only on its talented staff but also on the amazing food they serve.

Although restaurant managers and employees are aware of the importance of these inspections, they can be stressful. You don’t need to fear food industry compliance inspections. Your restaurant will be able to meet health inspectors’ approval with a little bit of preparation and industry knowledge about food safety and compliance regulations.

What to Expect From a Restaurant Investigation by the Health Incorporator

A majority of states require restaurants to be inspected twice per year. The local health department visits about every six month. These inspections are usually carried out without notice or warning to the restaurant owners or management. Therefore, it is important to be always ready.

Once they arrive at the property, the inspector will verify their identity and provide some form of identification. Unless otherwise instructed, the inspector should be allowed free movement around the property. The inspector has the right to enter any part of the building, even those that are locked.

These are the usual inspections:

  • An initial tour of the entire facility
  • Concentrate on the kitchen area and storage areas.
  • Concentrate on the bar area and dining room.
  • Complete inspection of bathrooms and all other plumbing.
  • Inspection of all exterior areas and trash areas

Inspections focus on temperature abuse and contamination of food items during product preparation, storage, and consumption. However, they also inspect for pest infestations in all areas of the building.

When Do You Expect a Inspection?

Restaurants will receive two visits annually from the health inspector. However, the local health department may request additional inspections.

If a complaint is filed about the business, additional inspections may be required. If a potential problem is discovered at a restaurant it is the responsibility of local authorities to investigate and determine whether there is a problem. A health inspector will be called to investigate the situation and make a report.

It is crucial that restaurant managers follow all codes and regulations as violations can result in heavy fines and even permanent closure of the restaurant.

How to Prepare for a Visit From the Health Office

It is a good idea for restaurant managers to be as prepared as possible, since they never know when the inspector will arrive. You can do this by making sure that your restaurant is clean and tidy. The health department can come in at any hour, even if you’re not expecting it.

Managers and restaurant owners know that it is a good idea for their staff to do regular inspections to find potential issues. You will be able to pass all official inspections without any hassle and ensure that your customers have a pleasant and safe dining experience. You can make your restaurant a great place in which to work by having regular inspections. This will let your staff know that you care about creating a safe environment for guests and employees.

Here are some tips on what the inspector is looking for, and some tips on how you can prepare for the inspection from the department of health.

Tips From the Health Direction for Your Restaurant for a Passing Score

Proper Food Storage

It is essential to be able to identify exactly where and how foods should be stored so that food can not get contaminated in commercial kitchens. Proper food storage involves storing cooked food higher than raw food in a refrigerator. All food must be kept at least six inches from the ground and all food must be wrapped or contained so there are no spillages. You should date it once it is opened to ensure that the older products are used first.

Temperature Control

You must ensure that food is cooked properly and kept at the correct temperature in your restaurant. Failure to do so could lead to the spread of bacteria, which can cause customers to become ill. It is important that cold food be kept at a temperature of below 40°F/4°C; frozen foods should be kept below 0°F/-18°C; hot food should stay above 140°F/60°C. Make sure that your refrigerators and freezers are in good working order. Also, make sure that the thermometers are accurate.

Prevent Food Contamination

Remember that food can be contaminated if it touches your supply. A clean, well-maintained kitchen is essential. Food safety violations are serious. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that all food preparation areas are kept clean and well-sanitized in order to prevent any foodborne illness outbreaks. For best results, use FDA approved food handling methods such as dishwashing, deep cleaning ice machines, and making sure food prep areas and dishes are clean. You should avoid bare-hand contact with cooked food. Tongs, food-grade tissue, or gloves should be provided to employees who handle cooked foods.

Keep track of food safety practices

To maintain your restaurant’s food safety, it is important to keep track of what you do each day. You should keep records of everything, including all health department inspections, safe food handling processes, pest exterminating programs, equipment maintenance and repairs, as well as any internal and external inspections. This will make it easier to organize your restaurant inspection.

Cleaning of Restaurant Space

Restaurant cleanliness does not end at the counters or tables. All areas of the restaurant must be kept clean and well maintained. This means that walls, floors and ceilings must be maintained in a safe and functional condition. This applies to equipment in restaurants such as HVAC units, dishwashers and ice machines.


All toilets should be cleaned daily and disinfected as often as possible. This applies to both customers and staff. Sanitation is important on all surfaces, including doors, floors and ceilings. Make sure you have sufficient supplies, such as soap, paper towels and toilet tissue.

Personal Hygiene

Food handlers are required to follow hygiene protocols in order to avoid food contamination. Proper hygiene means using a separate sink with hot or cold water for handwashing, changing disposable gloves between tasks, and wearing clean uniforms, aprons, and appropriate fingernails length. Long hair should be tied back and wound coverage is required.

Pest Maintenance and Control

If pests are seen in restaurants, they can quickly make a bad name. Because the restaurant is filled with food, pest control can be challenging. Keep an eye out for signs that pests are infesting the building, such as droppings or nesting sites. You should also make sure that you close any entry points to prevent unwanted pests from entering your building. A professional exterminator is recommended to handle any pest issues and ensure that the problem gets solved properly.

For your staff, train them

Train all of your employees on proper food preparation and safety. Knowledgeable staff will enable you to use best practices and prepare you for inspections by health departments. Training is essential for food safety in your restaurant.

You must remember that local health inspectors are looking for signs of pest infestation, temperature abuse and contamination. They will inspect every corner and find any violations.

You will need to be familiar with all regulations in your area. To ensure your bi-annual inspections are successful, you should contact your local Health Department.