Ever wondered how restaurants ensure that their food is healthy enough to consume? If yes, then the answer is by passing regular restaurant health inspections conducted by municipal authorities to ensure public safety. These health inspections are mandatory checks that every restaurant has to go through.
India has a Central regulatory body, namely the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), that functions under the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006. The body is responsible for setting safety standards, conducting health inspections, and issuing food licenses to restaurant businesses in India.
This article will put forth some strategies to pass the health inspection successfully.
Tips To Pass The Restaurant Health Inspection Successfully
The first inspection involves an audit process and it is followed by the physical inspection of the restaurant premises where the food is prepared. Auditing processes ensure that safety standards are met in the procurement of ingredients and preparation of food. The restaurant inspection is where the food inspector checks the safety and hygiene of the restaurant’s kitchen and the dining space. Restaurateurs should keep in mind the FSSAI food licensing and registration guidelines before an inspection.
Let us look at some of the ways restaurateurs can successfully pass through the health inspection stages.
1. Train Your Employees
It is crucial to train your employees before the food inspection. Teach them how to behave and instruct them to proactively correct any error before the food inspector enters the restaurant. Familiarize them with the rules, regulations, and guidelines to follow during a food inspection. The restaurant staff should be competent enough in following all the safety and hygiene norms in front of the food inspector as this directly affects the scoring of the restaurant.
Since last year, restaurants have been required to strictly follow the FSSAI COVID-19 guidelines. Failure to follow these guidelines can lead to the closure of restaurants, and no restaurateur would want this to happen. Thus, ensure that the staff tracks food temperature, wash their hands, use disposable gloves while handling food and follow all other sanitation norms that can help the restaurant ace the inspection.
2. Ensure Proper Food Storage
Places and shelves where the food is stored need to be adequate, clean, and hygienic enough to avoid contamination. Cooked and ready-to-eat food should be kept above raw food. Ensure proper wrapping of food products so that they do not spill or drip on the shelves. It is crucial to ensure that the food storage spaces are moisture-free and free of pests. Avoid leakages at all costs.
Chemicals and detergents should be stored in separate areas and not with the raw materials and ingredients. Furthermore, proper stock rotation should be practised so that the quality of raw materials does not deteriorate with time.
3. Pest Control
Pests, once infested, can spoil the entire inventory, which is why they are the last thing you want in your kitchen. Pest control should be done efficiently to ensure that pests don’t find their way in via any channel. Nesting sites of pests and their entry points in walls and doors should be thoroughly checked.
It should be noted that poisonous chemicals are not to be used for pest control. You do not want to poison your inventory and raw materials. Glue traps should be used instead as a reliable pest control method. Furthermore, if pest control is too challenging, a licensed pest control service can always be hired to look after it and keep everything in check.
4. Waste Management
There is a lot of waste generated in restaurants daily, from the peels of groceries to the food that the customers waste. Mismanaged waste can lead to bacterial or fungal infections among the staff and guests. Therefore, proper waste management facilities are essential to pass the restaurant health inspection.
Ensure that the trash chutes where the garbage is disposed off are not clogged and are leak-proof and pest-proof. Biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste should be collected separately. Also, solid and liquid waste should be separated on a daily basis. Make sure that the garbage bins are not overflowing and are cleaned regularly.
5. Ensure Cleanliness In Bathrooms
Bathroom cleanliness should be ensured as it is a major source from where germs and contaminants can spread. Restrooms and washrooms should be regularly cleaned and sanitized for both staff as well as guests. They should always be equipped with essential sanitary products like toilet paper, a garbage receptacle, running water, soap, hot air dryer and paper towels.
6. Conduct Self Inspections
Surprise self-inspections should be conducted to prepare your employees for official restaurant health inspections. Correct the deficiencies found during the self-inspection to prepare better for future inspections. Self-inspection should be done carefully, following the same measures that the food inspectors follow. Every critical area should be inspected.
The kitchen, storage areas and dining space should be paid special attention as they are the primary spaces that determine the hygiene standards of restaurants. Ensure proper cleanliness while inspecting the restaurant and food as cleanliness is the key element of the health and safety standard list.
Self-inspections can help the restaurateur better understand the guidelines followed by food inspectors. They need to make a checklist of the guidelines to make the restaurant FSSAI compliant.
Small food manufacturers and producers that pass inspection receive the FSSAI Certificate. Medium to large scale food manufacturers and producers receive FSSAI licence and FSSAI central licence as food safety approval.
Use these tips to ace the restaurant health inspection and receive the FSSAI certificate and license, giving customers greater confidence about the service you provide.