Even though it’s inevitable, a visit from the local health inspector tends to take local restaurant and food production facilities by surprise. Rather than panic upon their arrival, we have a few ideas that can help your inspection go smoothly.
Tips for a Smooth Visit from the Health Inspector
We think that the following tips will help you feel more at ease during your next visit from the health inspector:
- Have all personnel’s food training certifications readily accessible
- Ensure that your designated Person in Charge is available
- Be prepared to ask questions concerning your inspection report
Many times, the first item on an inspector’s checklist is to make sure that your Minnesota food manager certification and permits are up to date. Having to dig through files to locate the necessary permits can elevate your stress level and delay the inspection process. This delay can be easily avoided by having all necessary permits and certifications readily displayed in a safe location such as the managerial office.
Each health inspector’s routine varies, but from our discussions with them we have found that they’d prefer to have the manager on duty nearby to answer questions and escort them to the various sections of the facility that must be checked.
Escorting your health inspector during their inspection also provides you with instant access to the information that will be on the inspection report before it is even filled out. You’ll be given an opportunity to have any possible violations explained in full and even be given directions as to the best possible way to resolve the issue. Take advantage of this time to have any concerns that you have about your facilities procedures and have any rules that you are unclear about explained to you. Once your inspector leaves, it’s often too late for clarification.
We have one final piece of advice when it comes to dealing with your local health inspector. It’s important to understand that they’re not there to punish your business. We see many food preparation managers who feel that they’re being attacked or discriminated against. This simply isn’t the case. The Health Department has the same goals that you do. They want to see local businesses flourish, but they want to ensure that the food products being consumed are safe. While your business may be one of the cleanest in town and you follow all regulations to the letter, it’s still important to partner with your inspector rather that immediately go on the defensive. This will lead to a long, friendly relationship that will benefit both your business and the health of the local community.
Let us hear from you, any other suggestions or comments?… We’re listening.