Minnesota Food Manager Certification – Health Inspection Tips
A visit by the local inspector is almost always a surprise. Instead of panicking upon their arrival, here are some tips to make your inspection run smoothly.
Tips for a Smooth Health Inspector Visit
The following tips can help you feel more at home during your next visit to the health inspector.
- Make sure all employees have access to their food training certifications
- You must ensure that your designated Person In Charge is available
- Prepare to ask questions regarding your inspection report
A lot of times, the inspector’s first task is to verify that your Minnesota food manager certification (and permits) are current. The inspection process can be delayed and stressful if you have to go through all the files looking for the required permits. All permits and certificates can be displayed in a secure location, such as the manager’s office. This will avoid any delays.
While each health inspector’s work routine is different, our conversations with them have shown that they prefer having the manager present to answer questions and direct them to the relevant sections.
Assisting your health inspector during an inspection gives you instant access to all information on the report, even before it is completed. You’ll have the opportunity to see the inspection report in detail and get directions on how to solve the problem. This is a great opportunity to ask questions about your facilities and get clarification on any rules. Once the inspector is gone, it’s usually too late for clarification.
Here’s one last piece of advice for dealing with your local health inspector. It’s important that you understand that the inspectors aren’t there to make your business look bad. Many food preparation managers feel like they are being bullied or discriminated against. This is simply not the case. The Health Department is driven by the same goals you have. They want local businesses to thrive but also to ensure food safety. Even if your business is the best in town, and you may follow all regulations to a T, it is important to be a partner with your inspector. This will create a lasting, friendly relationship which will benefit both you and your local community.
Things that health inspectors inspect
The health inspector does not have the authority to shut down a restaurant. Instead, they enforce local food codes as well as educate staff about safe food handling. Below are some of the items an inspector will inspect when inspecting your restaurant.
Items of critical importance
Foodborne illness is considered a critical item. On inspection sheets, many counties designate these items as “red”. Some examples of crucial items are:
Be sure to wash your hands properly
- Be sure to ensure that the food you eat comes from a certified source.
- Cooked foods should be kept chilled at the proper temperature.
- Make sure your commercial dishwashers contain the correct concentration of sanitizer.
- Verify there has not been cross-contamination between raw, cooked, or ready-to-serve products.
Other items are not important
Non-critical items do not have to be directly related to foodborne illness, but they can cause serious problems if left untreated. These items are typically marked “blue” on an inspection form. Below are some examples of items that are not critical:
- Containers for food storage that have been labeled
- Current operator permit
- Meat thermometers properly calibrated.
- Clean floors, walls, ceilings.
- The break or changing area for employees is separated from the kitchen.
Potentially dangerous foods
Health inspectors pay particular attention to potentially dangerous foods. These foods must be kept at the correct temperature and time to prevent foodborne diseases and bacteria growth. The inspector will carefully inspect the cooking, storage, and storage temperatures of all meats, poultry, and prepared food products in order to ensure they are safe.
Management and staff knowledge
For a restaurant to be licensed to operate, it is necessary for the owner to know all relevant health codes. The training of staff in food safety must be current. Employees must also have knowledge about safe food handling and preparation. This knowledge will be tested by the inspector who will ask questions.
Do not allow sick employees to continue working in the kitchen. You can either send them home or assign them to a job that requires them to not handle food or utensils. Person to person
Contact is the most common cause of foodborne illnesses. Sick employees can easily spread their germs from one person to another, no matter how careful they may be.
Note: This article is an overview of the health inspection process. Refer to the local Food Code for details and procedures.