Food 12 Secrets of Restaurant Health Inspectors

18:25  19 may  2017
18:25  19 may  2017 Source:

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Thank restaurant health inspectors , public health officials who work for city, state, and county health departments to enforce regional food safety guidelines and keep preparation kitchens free from practices that could lead to contamination or food-borne illness.

13 Things Restaurant Health Inspectors Wish You Knew. By Lauren Cahn. On the other hand, the wearing of gloves in the kitchen should not be seen as a safety panacea either. One of the dirty little secrets , restaurant staffers may not tell you is that they sometimes touch their gloved hands to food

12 Secrets of Restaurant Health Inspectors© iStock 12 Secrets of Restaurant Health Inspectors Have you ever found a Band-Aid lurking in your large pepperoni pizza? No? Thank restaurant health inspectors, public health officials who work for city, state, and county health departments to enforce regional food safety guidelines and keep preparation kitchens free from practices that could lead to contamination or food-borne illness.

To find out what it’s like to get a spontaneous look at commercial kitchens, Mental Floss quizzed three inspectors—also known as sanitarians or environmental health specialists—on their duties, from proper cockroach protocol to the simple trick they use to determine whether employees are washing their hands.

This Restaurant Banned Kids And Got A Shocking Response

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County inspectors may or may not inspect restaurants in every part of the county every week. © iStock 12 Secrets of Restaurant Health Inspectors Have you ever found a Band-Aid lurking in your large pepperoni pizza?

You might think a restaurant health inspection would be something that takes hours to complete so the inspector can scour every inch of the establishment. 6 Car Salesman Secrets To Know Before You Buy A Car.

Because practices can vary widely by region and even by inspector, this isn’t intended to be a definitive look at food safety protocol—but it will give you a glimpse at what these flashlight-wielding men and women encounter on a daily basis.


Because restaurant inspections are unannounced, the arrival of an inspector can cause a dramatic ripple effect in kitchens that may not be up to standards. To catch as many infractions as possible, inspectors might have to dash through a kitchen the second they walk in before someone destroys the evidence. “The first thing I do is power-walk around the kitchen,” says Taylor, an environmental health specialist based in the South. “We want to see the things that won’t be there in another three or four minutes.” That can include violations involving personal drinks contaminating food prep areas, a lack of gloves, dirty cleaning cloths, or a lack of paper towels at the hand sink. Watching workers try to remedy all this in moments, Taylor says, “is like bedlam.”

These 54 Restaurants Will Be Open on Easter Sunday

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Her findings were kept secret . Seventeen days later, on Feb. 27, about 100 lawyers and law students were stricken with food City inspectors do not test specifically for norovirus and other pathogens. On April 16, Belo inspected the restaurant again and found 12 serious and seven lesser infractions.


  12 Secrets of Restaurant Health Inspectors © Provided by The Week Publications

Although virtually any area of an establishment could harbor a problem, there's one area in particular that often invites trouble: the ice machine. “If you're just scooping out some ice, you really aren't seeing any of the important components where mold actually forms,” says Tim, a health inspector based in the Midwest. “Since they don't know where to look, the ice machine can go for very long periods without being sanitized.” Tim also looks at ice chutes on beverage machines because these are often maintained by outside personnel and get cleaned on an irregular basis. “You really need a flashlight and have to turn your head at awkward angles to get a good look inside these machines.”


Viral videos of workers wiping boogers into burgers haven’t done wonders for the reputation of fast food health practices, but Taylor says that major chains are usually pretty adherent to health codes because they conduct their own internal audits on a more regular basis than government inspections, which might only come twice a year. “Your run-of-the-mill mom and pop place won’t pay for third-party audits,” he says. “But a place like Walmart pays a whole lot of money to inspect their bakeries and delis.”

Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Kitchen Cited for Severe Health Code Violations

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Secret Samaritan. RVA Today. Neighborhood Health Watch. Source: NBC 12 . Food temperature violations and cleaning issues - that's what inspectors reported finding at some local restaurants in this Restaurant Report.

Canada's Restaurant Secrets map: Explore inspection results in each city. Food safety: 5 things to watch out for next time you dine out. A Subway restaurant in Calgary was cited by health inspectors three times for contaminated cleaning cloths.

According to Bill Benson, a former private health inspector who has worked with major franchises, it’s about brand protection. “Think of Chipotle,” he says. “It was only a few locations, but they lost hundreds of millions in revenue. Big companies are risk-averse.”


  12 Secrets of Restaurant Health Inspectors © Provided by The Week Publications

For most health departments, gloves are considered a secondary barrier between a cook and the food they’re handling—it’s no substitution for handwashing. To check and see if employees are practicing good hygiene, Benson would make a beeline for the paper towel dispenser near the sink and draw a big “X” on the protruding part of the roll. Then he’d come back after lunch. “If the X was still there, it meant no one had washed their hands for an entire shift,” he says.


Having points deducted from a health inspection can mean fines, undesirable letter grades posted in windows, or frequent re-inspection. Taylor says that not every proprietor will take the news of even one minor mistake very well. “I once had one owner of a day care center that prepared food get a 99 out of a possible 100 [score]. She took five steps from me, took out her iPhone, and smashed it against the wall.”

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How Restaurant Health Inspections Work. In other words, how much should we really care about restaurant inspection scores? Once or twice a year, inspectors spend a couple of hours inside a business that operates six days a week, 12 hours a day.

Welcome to Alberta Health Services (AHS) restaurant inspection website, which provides recent inspection reports of permitted restaurants in Alberta. Public health inspectors regularly inspect food establishments to ensure that


  12 Secrets of Restaurant Health Inspectors © Provided by The Week Publications

Not in food service, anyway. “Jewelry is considered a contamination risk,” Benson says. “You don’t want something to fall into a food product. Personal items should be segregated from food production.”


Plastic bottles full of unknown liquids are a troublesome presence in kitchens, since employees may not necessarily know vinegar from glass cleaner, and cleaning supplies can migrate from supply areas to prep tables. “That’s a high-dollar [fine] in inspections for unlabeled bottles,” Taylor says. “You don’t know water from bleach.”


  12 Secrets of Restaurant Health Inspectors © Provided by The Week Publications

Insect infestations are a grim reality of the food service industry. Even if a property is cleaned meticulously, deliveries and other outside forces can conspire to introduce cockroaches into a kitchen. After years on the job, Benson could usually tell if there’s a roach problem simply by taking a deep breath. “You get used to the smell,” he says. “It’s nutty and kind of oily. You walk into a building and you just know.”


While policies vary widely from state to state, most inspectors make sure restaurants avoid letting food sit out in the Food and Drug Administration’s “danger zone” of between 40 and 135-140°F. “If it’s cold, it’s got to be less than 41 degrees,” Taylor says. “If it’s hot, it should be above 135 degrees. Anything between that, microorganisms can start growing in food.”

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Healthcare Disaster Restoration. A 12 -Point Health Inspection Checklist for Your Restaurant Operations. Restaurant health inspectors look for indications that may lead to foodborne illness.

But bugs dwell on tabletop items too. Good Morning America sent a team of scientists to swab the items on the tables of 12 restaurants , including the items mentioned above. Check out more secrets health inspectors wish you knew.


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If you think allowing the general public access to mounds of food for self-service purposes might not be the most hygienic practice in the world, you’re probably on to something. “It’s not even a restaurant’s fault,” Taylor says. “I’ve seen kids sticking their hands in there, grabbing handfuls of fries."


It’s not about the hygienic practices—of lack thereof—they’ve witnessed. Taylor says that doubling as a customer invites its own ethical issues. “If you give them a low score, they might come back with, ‘Well, you had a sandwich here last Tuesday, we can’t be that bad,’” he says. “I’ve also gone to places just for a beer and they’ve brought me fried pickles on the house. I can’t accept those. You can’t be bribing a health inspector with fried pickles.”


  12 Secrets of Restaurant Health Inspectors © Provided by The Week Publications

While school cafeterias, public pools, and even tattoo parlors can be part of their rounds, health inspectors generally don’t get to harass curbside bartenders. “It specifically states in the [local] food code that children under 12 are allowed to sell non-perishable food products on the streets or on front lawns,” Tim says. Buyer beware.

All images courtesy of iStock.

Norovirus tied to donut shop sickens some 200 .
Officials in Maumee, Ohio say culprit Mama C’s voluntarily closed and will stay shut until it passes inspectionMAUMEE, OH -- Almost 200 people were sickened by a norovirus outbreak that was traced to a local restaurant, and that number continues to climb, reports CBS Toledo affiliate WTOL.

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