Pass Your Health Inspection with Proper Food Safety and Commercial Refrigeration
Posted by Ancaster Food Equipment | 14-08-2019
Restaurants, food kiosks, and other food-service operations are regulated by local health inspectors to ensure that they meet safety standards with each bite that every customer takes. Health inspections are routinely conducted, and the fact is, there’s only one desirable outcome: passing. Even the smallest violations can result in hefty fines that can put a dent in your profits, while repeat violations and larger infractions can result in closures in less than 24 hours. At the end of the day, it’s simply not good business sense to incur food safety violations. Word of a restaurant closure can spread quickly among your customer base, rapidly forcing any establishment out of the market.
Avoiding a Health Code ViolationHealth code violations take a lot of forms. These could be as simple as failing to provide washroom supplies for staff and customers, to failing to practice proper hygiene, to very serious and hazardous offences such as cross-contamination during storage or rodent infestation. While either scenario can cause a setback, or worse, lead to a devastating outcome for your business, what’s important to know is that they can be avoided well-ahead of your next health inspection. What are the most common health code violations in the food industry? Find out now, and learn how you can ace your next health inspection.
Common Health Code ViolationsWhen people think of health code violations, it’s often the major infractions that come to mind; the ones that prompt inspectors to shut down an establishment. But contrary to popular belief, smaller violations can pile up too, resulting in multiple citations or warnings; if these are left unaddressed or found to have been repeated, you could be looking at large fines and restrictions. The silver lining here is that these highly common violations are often minor and easy to address. And because health inspections are conducted according to set guidelines, it’s not impossible to keep track and do some extra cleaning of these common sites for violations. For instance, your commercial refrigerator plays a large part in health inspections, as it is responsible for optimal food storage. You can expect the inspector to thoroughly go through the cooling unit and find these common violations:
- Lack of interior release and lights not working properly
- Spoiled or poorly packaged food
- Bad odour and possible contamination
- Spills or pieces of food left lying around
- Poor temperature control inside the commercial refrigerator and ventilation surrounding the cooling equipment
- Growth of mould in the commercial refrigerator
- Storage of food inside the refrigerator for over 24 hours without proper labels detailing sell-by date
- Poor kitchen layout, creating hard-to-reach areas and other cleaning constraints surrounding the commercial refrigerator
- Rust on panels and floors
- Worn gasket preventing proper closing of the refrigerator door
- Roach or pest infestation in the gaskets, drain line, and the immediate surroundings of the refrigerator.
Food safetySince the biggest concern in the food industry is customer safety, inspectors are quick to note food safety violations pertaining to storage temperature. Food stored anywhere between 5 to 57 degrees Celsius is considered to be at risk of spoilage because the warm conditions allow disease-causing bacteria to thrive.
Cross-contaminationFood stored in commercial refrigerators needs to be organized according to type. Cross-contamination between produce and raw meat can lead to dangerous bacteria, and it can start in storage. A simple but effective way to prevent this early is to store produce at the top and raw meat at the bottom. When taking out these items for food preparation, make sure to use colour-coded cutting boards and disposable gloves to prevent cross-contamination.
Poor personal hygieneOne of the most common agents of disease is the kitchen staff handling food. Establishments cited for health code violations because of this reason are often run by staff who do not wash their hands properly with soap and use disposable gloves and hair-nets.
Poor kitchen sanitationUp there with poor personal hygiene is a poorly kept workstation. To avoid this, it’s essential to only use equipment once it has been properly sanitized, and maintain a spotless kitchen free of any residue, dirt, and debris.