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Insider tips for a smooth inspection

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.

  • An EHO wants to find nothing wrong and be gone as quickly as possible. Their aim is the same as yours: a problem-free inspection. They don’t want to find fault or shut you down
  • It’s preferable to treat the EHO in a courteous and even friendly manner
  • An EHO prefers to inspect a business while it’s operating so they can see exactly what happens. However, it’s less disruptive for you if they come when you’re quiet. If things get hectic, invite them to stay and inspect (they have the legal powers to remain) but come back by appointment to discuss any details
  • You and an EHO have a shared outcome: for you to stay open and sell as much safe food as possible. So be truthful, helpful and not evasive, even if you’ve had a previous poor score
  • Request a blank inspection form so you can see for yourself what an EHO is looking for
  • Minimise the potential for bacterial growth and prevent cross contamination by having effective temperature control and separation between raw foods and ready-to-eat foods at all stages: during delivery, receipt of goods, storage, preparation, cooking and any associated cooling, intermediate storage, reheating, hot or cold holding
  • Have a documented system identifying where food hazards exist. Three broad hazards are: physical contamination, chemical contamination, and microbiological hazards (comprising bacterial growth, cross contamination and bacterial survival). Your system should demonstrate how hazards are controlled, what monitoring is in place to ensure the control is effective and what corrective action you take when monitoring shows that control has not been effective
  • Ensure all prerequisites are in place: wash hand basins suitably located with hot/cold water and soap/towels, appropriate provision for storage and removal of food waste, appropriate water supply, lighting, facilities for the washing of food, ventilation, training and pest control
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