Avoiding Commercial Kitchen Inspection Violations
Owning and operating any commercial kitchen space requires time and patience. Any bumps can throw off the entire operation, which is why it’s important to make sure that the kitchen is running at top efficiency. Just running a kitchen Is stressful in itself, and the stress is only amplified when the health inspector decides to pop in for a visit. Failing a health inspection can not only halt your business, but can also be extremely costly in order to get back up and running. One of the most common and major violations that a commercial kitchen can find themselves receiving pertains to failure to follow the proper safe food handling guidelines, which are outlined and updated every 4 years in the publication Food Code, written by the US Food and Drug Administration.
The first step to ensuring your commercial kitchen is not in violation of any of the safe food handling guides is familiarization. Since the Food Code is updated every 4 years it is imperative you stay on top of any changes that may occur. Once you are familiarized with the guidelines it is recommended you sit down with staff to implement an internal set of food handling guidelines. The health inspector will show up unannounced at least once per year, but if you run a organized and clean kitchen you should have nothing to worry about. Here are some items to think about when setting up your own guidelines:
- Work with kitchen staff to come up with a cleaning checklist for the kitchen. This checklist should include daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning lists including but not limited to cleaning of all surfaces, maintaining an inventory of clean rags, clean and empty trash areas, proper cleaning of hood systems and kitchen equipment, and changing of all filters.
- Every month or so you should inspect your kitchen appliances for any signs of wear or faults. This includes ventilation equipment, fryers and grills, hood systems, and hood filters / grease traps.
- Hire a professional service to come in every few months to do a thorough maintenance check of the kitchen.
You should also consider conduction regular randomized self inspections of your commercial kitchen space. It’s imperative that the cleaning and handling guidelines are being followed, and as painful as it is to find the time to inspect your kitchen, it’s better you find the potential violation and fix it rather than a health inspector. In the long run the constant checking will become force of habit and you’ll rest easy knowing that the kitchen is up to code so you no longer need to stress the randomized health inspector visits.
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