Ten Tips to Pass Your Health Checks

Would you and all your staff be prepared to receive a surprise inspection from the health inspector right away?

It is important to always be prepared, as foodservice professionals know all too well.

San Jamar Chef Revival has compiled a list with 10 tips on how to prepare for a service inspection.

Food must be cooled according to an approved method. The internal temperature must be reduced from 135°F to 70°F within two hours, and then from 70°F to 41°F within four hours.

Food should be kept safe from contamination throughout storage, preparation, transport, display, and service. Choose a cutting board with anti-slip grips over a potentially unsafe wet towel.

After contact with food, surfaces must be washed and rinsed. You can designate different colors for non-food purposes, such as cleaning or sanitizing.

For proper sanitation, it is important to have accurate test kits and thermometers.

Maintaining personal cleanliness is essential. It is important to avoid contaminating outer garments. In areas that food is present, hair should be kept under control.

  • For effective hand hygiene, soap and hand drying products must be available.
  • HACCP guidelines require food to be stored in a safe manner, properly covered, and labeled.
  • Cold foods should be kept at the proper temperature. Food pans with a freeze-able gel are a good choice.
  • Ice containers and scoops need to be protected from contamination during storage preparation, transport or service.
  • Protect your hands and arms with gloves or mitts in order to avoid cuts and burns that may lead to the spread and transmission of transmissible disease.

What are the Health Inspectors Looking for in a Restaurant

You don’t need to worry about preparing for a food safety inspection. StateFoodSafety is here to help you make it easier. Below are some things that a health inspector will look for in inspecting your restaurant.

You can use this checklist to organize regular self-inspections at your place. Your employees will appreciate the importance of following food safety principles by performing self-inspections. These will help you and your staff to know what to do in the event of a real inspection.

Food preparation

  • Employees are educated about food safety and how to avoid contamination.
  • Before serving fruits and vegetables, they are washed.
  • Naturally occurring hazards (bones, seeds etc.) before food is served.
  • To avoid contact with the skin, gloves or utensils are required for food preparation.
  • In the event of an accident, there is a procedure in place to prevent contamination.
  • Food that could be contaminated is thrown away and the process of preparation is restarted.
  • Discarded food is thrown out.
  • All food is only purchased from authorized sources
  • Food is safe from contamination and signs of spoilage.

Food Storage

  • Food should be stored in dry, cool places, in non-toxic containers, and properly labeled.
  • Food packaging is free from dents, tears and rust.
  • Perishable food should be stored according to its cooking temperature. The lowest cooking temperatures are on the higher shelves while the highest temperatures are on the lower shelves.
  • You can clearly see the use-by dates based on the date that the ingredient will expire.
  • When choosing ingredients, it is important to follow the principle of First In, first Out (FIFO).

Employee Hygiene

  • After touching contaminated surfaces or changing hands, employees must wash their hands at least twenty seconds.
  • For employees, hand washing signs are posted at the stations and in the bathrooms.
  • Employees use disposable gloves that are easily changed by their employees.
  • Employees cover their hair and beards with hair- and beard-coverings.
  • Employees must also adhere to other hygiene standards, such as wearing clean uniforms and showering regularly, keeping their fingers clean, covering any jewelry or scrapes, and having clean fingernails.
  • No tobacco products are allowed in the workplace.
  • The employee break and eating areas are separate from the areas used for food preparation.
  • If employees have symptoms or are positive for communicable illnesses, they should not be allowed to return to work.

Setup of a Facility

  • You will find separate hand sinks, mop and 3-compartment dishwashing stations in the facility.
  • Hot water can be accessed at 100degF or 110degF at hand and three-compartment basins.
  • The area around the sinks’ splash zones is waterproof.
  • To prevent backflow, faucets must be at an acceptable height above the sink.
  • The water drains from each sink properly, and the plumbing works well. There are no leaks in the sinks.
  • Sanitizer lines have an anti-backflow device.
  • Lighting is essential for food preparation, and also serves as a source of light.
  • If light fixtures break, they are covered.
  • The building contains sufficient bathrooms to allow maximum occupancy. They are only used as a toilet (no storage).
  • Bathroom stalls should have lockable, self-closing doors that work in good order.
  • Bathrooms have plenty of toilet paper, soap, disposable hand towels and dryers.
  • All areas are well ventilated.
  • All areas are equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Industrial equipment is sealed to the ground or has enough space beneath it to allow cleaning.
  • There is no place for living in the food establishment.


  • All surfaces can be easily cleaned and are regularly washed.
  • All equipment conforms to ANAB standards.
  • Properly wash your eating utensils after every use with a 3-compartment sink, or commercial dishwashing machines.
  • When cleaning chemicals or cleaning supplies, be sure to keep them away from food surfaces.
  • After cleaning, all cleaners must be completely removed from food surfaces.
  • Chemicals must be labeled properly and kept separate from food storage.
  • The approved chemical test strips are used to test the effectiveness of sanitizers.

Pest Control

  • All holes for piping and other equipment, as well as cracks, are sealed to stop pests entering.
  • They are placed on a level, draining surface at a distance of about 10 meters from the establishment. They are cleaned frequently, kept clean, and covered.
  • The trash is regularly disposed of, there is no overflow, and the trash receptacles have been covered.
  • There are no signs that cockroaches or rats have left droppings, urine or eggs.
  • The shelves for food should be at least 6″ off the ground.
  • The establishment does not have any live animals, except for the service animals and the tanked fish that are available in the dining area.
  • The doors are self-closing to prevent pests entering the facility.
  • Proper use of approved pesticides is required to prevent food contamination or create a danger.


  • All employees have been required to provide documentation of food safety certificates by their local health department.
  • Proper signage must be posted (no smoking, first-aid, restaurant permit, rating by the health department, nutrition information, food allergens info, etc.).
  • The HACCP Plan has been correctly displayed by the establishment.
  • All suspected cases have been reported to the department of health.