Understanding Restaurant Health Codes

by

Abigail Chaucer

Understanding and abiding by health codes is mandatory in operating a productive restaurant. However, there may be some regulations that you are not aware of yet, or may have forgotten. Here is a simple breakdown to following health code regulations and what you should know before the inspector arrives.

Typical Things Inspectors Check

Of course, your health code may vary a little depending on the state or country you reside. Most states however, check for pretty basic things. Once you are aware of these, the preemptive measures needed to be taken are quite simple.

The first thing that will be noticed in the kitchen will be the cleanliness (or vice versa). Bacteria can be found anywhere and kitchen equipment that isnt cleaned properly will be covered in it from top to bottom. Make sure that all equipment is cleaned properly with the approved chemicals.

Food preparation and storage is another huge factor that comes into play. There are very specific guidelines about where food should be stored and what it should be stored with.

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– All food must be covered or wrapped and stored at the appropriate temperatures, no exceptions.

– All produce must be washed thoroughly and must be kept away from raw poultry during preparation. Frozen foods must be thawed according to certain health standards. Heating and re-heating methods must follow set guidelines.

– There should be minimal, if any, hand contact with prepared food. All employees must wash their hands thoroughly before handling food, must have hair pulled back, and may not eat or drink near restaurant food.

– All equipment should be cleaned and sanitized throughout a shift, not just before and after.

– All food and beverages must be labeled according to shelf life and may not be served after specified date.

Good inspections are not just due to the cleanliness and presentation of your kitchen and staff. Your establishment will also be checked for rodents, other pests, bad odors, mold, overstuffed trash receptacles and the area around them, and the appearance of your restrooms.

What to Expect from an Inspector

Inspectors love to arrive without warning. They will normally only show up once a year, so that will help you get an idea of when they might arrive. When the inspector does show up, make sure to ask for their credentials. If you are willing to show them around your restaurant and take note of any violations that need immediate attention, inspectors will notice this willingness and appreciate it. Once the inspection is done, make sure to sign the report, which only indicates that you received a copy, but you dont necessarily need to agree with the findings. Never offer food or other things to an inspector as a way of bribery.

Action to Take in Case of a Citation

If you do not understand the reason for a certain citation, be sure to ask. Inspectors are trained to answer any and all questions about restaurant health codes and they will be more than happy to help you understand. If you dont agree with the citation, do not say anything to the inspector because this can only stir up trouble. Sign the report and appeal the decision later.

Mission Restaurant Supply provides commercial restaurant equipment,

restaurant supplies

, concession stand equipment, and

bar supplies

to businesses and individuals. The public is welcome! We are in beautiful downtown San Antonio, Texas, but ship worldwide.

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