How to make the Health Inspector happy
Common Health Code Violations in Restaurants: How to Avoid These
Temperature and Time
Temperature and time play an important role in the safety of food in your kitchen. It is simple and effective to keep your food safe for a set time and prevent food-borne illness.
The type of food will usually determine the temperature and time requirements. Mayonnaise, for example, can be kept at room temperature for only a few hours. It becomes hazardous to anyone who might consume it after that time. However, mayo can be kept at a lower temperature in a refrigerator for several months.
Temperature danger zones are where food can become dangerous. This refers to food temperatures that are between 40 and 140 degrees F. It is the ideal temperature for bacteria growth. This is the range where food can stay for longer periods of time without becoming unsafe.
How to keep food safe from danger.
These are some recommendations on how to keep food safe at certain temperatures and times.
- You can keep hot food at 140 degrees F or higher by heating the food in chafing dishes or preheated steam tables.
- Place cold food in containers placed on ice to keep it at 40 degrees F or lower
- Keep temperature logs. To ensure food products remain at the correct temperatures, check thermometers at least twice per day.
- Cool cooked food quickly and store leftovers in shallow containers. Refrigerate at 40°F or lower within 2 hours.
Make sure to thoroughly heat food before you reheat it. Before you eat, make sure to check the temperature of the food.
Cross-contamination due to poor inventory storage can lead to many food-borne diseases. This happens most often when juices from one inventory item drip onto food items.
Here’s an example. If chicken juices drip onto beef during storage, there’s a good chance that the beef won’t be cooked to a temperature high enough to kill the chicken bacteria. Raw chicken should be cooked at a minimum temperature of 165 degrees F while beef must be cooked at 145 degrees F.
How to store food properly to prevent cross-contamination
You can prevent cross-contamination by choosing a safer storage method
- Raw Vegetables
- Cooked Vegetables
- Cooked meats
- Seafood Cooked
- Raw Seafood
- Raw Beef
- Raw Pork
- Raw Chicken
Your team should conduct cold-storage inspections every night to ensure that products are in the right places.
Mishandling can also lead to bacteria transfer from one food item into another, just like in storage.
If a cook grabs an uncooked burger, places it on the grill and doesn’t wash their hands before picking up a bun to put it on, it is likely that bacteria from the burger has made its way onto the bun. This will make it unsafe for your guests.
Many cooks and other back-of-house staff have been trained in cross-contamination prevention techniques. This includes switching out cutting boards and washing your hands between handling meat and vegetables. It’s not the obvious things that you need to be aware of.
How to prevent cross-contamination in your team.
As a minimum standard, ensure that your cooks and kitchen staff are ServSafe-certified. ServSafe is an industry standard that trains restaurant workers to safely handle food.
Make sure you have hand washing stations at your restaurant. Also, train your staff on how to wash their hands. After using the bathroom, touching their hair or eating, all employees must wash their hands.
Make sure your team is trained to use the correct utensils for each food item. For example, color-coded cutting boards.
Humans are constantly exposed to a lot of bacteria every day. Your job is to ensure that your restaurant’s kitchen is as safe and clean as possible. You must be aware of who and what is allowed into your kitchen. Also, you need to know how to protect your staff members and guests.
Hepatitis can be spread through contact with bodily fluids. Hepatitis A epidemics have been a major topic of conversation in the United States over recent years. A word of caution: A quick hand wash won’t be enough to get rid of bacteria. Bacteria and other illnesses can be found under your fingernails and higher up on your arms. They can also pass from hands to clothing. It is a good idea to remind staff to get immunized against hepatitis A.
How to encourage personal hygiene in your restaurant
Employees should wash their hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap and hot, soapy water. Scrub for 20 seconds each time. To ensure you have scrubbed thoroughly, sing Happy Birthday twice consecutively.
This applies to employees arriving at work, before they touch food, after they have used the toilet, and when they are going to be handling different foods. There is a good chance that someone will ever wonder if they should wash or not.
It is possible to make sure that all back-of-house staff are dressed in clean, washed clothes every day. They will usually change into uniforms at your restaurant at the beginning of each shift and then return it at the end to reduce exposure to external contaminants.
A sick employee can also lead to violations of the health code. It’s possible to be short of staff, but it’s better for employees to stay home than to spread illness among the team.
Chemical Storage and Use
Take a look at the products that you use to clean your kitchen surfaces. Also, consider how effective they are. Restaurant staff often don’t have the proper training on how to use cleaning chemicals.
This is an important distinction. Clean is not the same as sanitized. Clean surfaces are free from visible dirt and crumbs. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the surface is clean. You never know what could have happened to the raw chicken just seconds before.
Sanitized means that the surface is free of 99.9% bacteria. It’s almost impossible to get rid of that last 00.1%. Only the right combination of the right process and the right chemical will allow you to achieve true sanitation.
How to teach your team how to safely and effectively use cleaning products.
Your back-of-house staff should know how to properly clean their workspaces beyond a surface cleaning.
You can hold a meeting between your cleaning supplies vendor to conduct mandatory training for your staff. You can provide detailed documentation to your team and have them test everyone once a quarter.
Here are the Less-Common, but Just as Important, Health Code Violations in Restaurants.
Although they are unlikely to cause you to fail the health inspection checklist items can still be deducted from your score and could put your guests at danger. That is something that no one wants.
Back of House Serviceware
To keep spoons, tongs and other utensils clean for raw protein or other foods, keep them in water at 165°F. You should never mix utensils for raw protein like beef and chicken with ready-to eat foods like tomatoes or lettuce.
Storage and handling of silverware and glassware
Back-of-house staff must keep silverware covered and place plates and glasses upside down. Your team should not touch stored silverware or glassware where guests might come in contact.
Silverware should be loaded handle-up into a dishwasher so that it can be lifted by the handle. Silverware should not be touched if it is being brought to guests.
Don’t touch the stem when you grab glasses. Place plates at the rim. This principle can be applied to the way your front-of house employees serve drinks. Keep glasses at the bottom, and not near the top or rim of the glass where guests will place their lips.
Two types of cleaning buckets should be kept at each kitchen station: one for green and one for red. These colors are industry-standards, but here’s an overview.
For sanitizing, use red cleaning buckets. For cleaning with soap, use green cleaning buckets. Use the soapy water in the green buckets to clean up any crumbs or debris. Then, use the solution in the red buckets to clean the area. It is easy to tell the difference by using colors. Health inspectors love it when the right buckets are filled with the right cleaning solutions. Make sure that your team knows which one.
To make sure your team is always ready to clean up after themselves, keep a towel and the solution in every bucket. Make sure that your team changes the water and cleaning solutions in each bucket at least once every four hours or whenever they become visible dirty.
Gloves can be controversial. They are loved by some, hated by others. They are loved by most, but some people don’t like the need to constantly change gloves.
But here’s the problem: Gloves can often give the illusion of security. Hands of your team must be treated equally, gloves or not. This means that they must wash their hands before putting on gloves.
Also, gloves can’t be washed in between projects. Workers must remove gloves, wash their hands and then change to a new pair every time.