Health Inspection Checklist

Source: Before Your Next Health Inspection... Checklist (PDF)

Your inspector follows the flow of food through your operation to spot potential threats to food safety. So should you. Improve your next inspection score by checking off the following sanitation and food-safety procedures beforehand.

1. Receiving

  • Internal temperatures are sampled from all arriving shipments of uncooked meat, poultry and fish, and must register 41 degrees F or colder.
  • Accurate thermometers are available for sampling internal temperatures of food shipments.
  • Receiving area is clean and well lit (to discourage pests).

2. Dry Storage

  • All inventory is labeled and dated.
  • All containers are airtight and undamaged.
  • Dated containers are arranged for rotation on a first in, first out (FIFO) basis.
  • Dry foods are stored off the floor and away from walls.
  • Chemical cleaners are stored away from food and labeled.
  • There is no sign of pest presence in storage area (check beneath and behind racks).

3. Refrigerated Storage

  • All inventory is labeled and dated. All potentially hazardous foods (meat, soup, tuna salad, etc.) more than seven days old have been thrown out.
  • All raw meat, poultry and fish is stored separately or below fresh, ready-to-eat foods.
  • Prepared foods are stored in shallow pans, uncovered (to accelerate cooling to safe cold-storage temperature).
  • All food is stored in leak-proof containers, tightly covered with lids, plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

4. Preparation

  • Every employee employs proper hand-washing technique:
    • Scrubs hands for 20 seconds with soap and water
    • Uses paper towels
    • Turns off water with the paper towel
  • Food contact surfaces are in good repair, and are cleaned and sanitized regularly.
  • Measures to prevent cross-contamination are in place. For example, cutting boards of different colors are used for meats and vegetables; countertops and cutting boards are washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use.
  • Pre-prepared foods are reheated to 165 degrees F to kill any bacteria before serving.
  • Steam tables (if present) are kept at a minimum temperature of 140 degrees F and the temperatures of various foods on the line are checked regularly.
  • Personnel with infections or communicable diseases are restricted from food handling areas.
  • All food preparation sinks, dishwashers and ice machines are equipped with indirect drains to prevent sewage backups.
  • After washing, dishes and utensils are sanitized with chemicals (e.g., chlorine) or by separate rinse in very hot water (180 to 190 degrees F).

5. Restrooms & Waste Disposal

  • Staff restrooms are equipped with cold and hot running water, the hot water is between 100 and 120 degrees F, and the sinks are stocked with soap and paper towels.
  • Garbage does not pass through food preparation areas on its way to disposal.
  • Garbage containers are covered and leak-proof.
  • All outside garbage containers have tight-fitting lids.
  • Garbage containers are cleaned and sanitized regularly, away from food preparation and storage areas.
  • All employees follow proper hand-washing procedures after handling garbage.

6. The Final Step: Documentation

All of the following documentation is available for the inspector's review:

  • Annual permit
  • Hand-washing policy
  • Information on food-safety training for staff
  • Staff list (all must have up-to-date food-handler cards)
  • Pest management documentation (including pest management company's license, service reports, pesticide usage logs and material safety data sheets)