Tips from the Inspector
If the thought of your next environmental health inspection makes you want to bury your head in the freezer, what you need are Take Stock’s insider tips from our friendly environmental health officer. Read on and see what you can you do to improve your score.
It’s worth considering what environmental health officers (EHOs) look for during an inspection, and how what they find impacts on your Inspection Frequency and Food Hygiene Rating.
Of course you need to comply with actual legislation, but put simply you must ensure the following:
- All food rooms are in good condition so they can be easily cleaned (and are clean).
- Staff training is up to date.
- Effective practices are in place to prevent cross contamination and control bacterial growth at each stage of processing and production.
An EHO can only require works to be completed to comply with legislation, and legislation provides only a minimum acceptable standard. However, a good EHO will recommend other works which, while not legally essential, will help protect customers and safeguard your business.
Food Hygiene Ratings are are scored from zero (which would likely be accompanied by enforcement action) to a high of five. However your overall rating is determined by the single lowest scoring element that’s in your control.
How scoring works
Nature of your business: EHOs assess you according to the type of food business. For example, they consider your customer numbers and volume, whether customers fall predominantly into a risk group, (children or the infirm) and distinguish between a café or restaurant, a hospital or food factory.
Structural repair and cleanliness: EHOs observe your handling practices at the time of the visit and standards of cleanliness. Both of these are under your control and the confidence the EHO places in them will impact upon your Food Hygiene Rating.
Food hazards not identified: EHOs check your food safety management system. A clean kitchen in good repair with excellent hygiene practices will score poorly if the EHO sees no evidence that food hazards have been identified or are being monitored or controlled.