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Kitchen Inspection Tips for Food Standards Agency Visit

Kitchen Inspection TipsA commercial kitchen is is required to follow specific food hygiene practices to stay compliant with UK food laws. Cleaning, maintainance and food hygiene guidelines within your kitchen will help prevent a poor review from the food standards agency. This is by no means a definative list, but it will help you create a framework of checklists for your kitchen.

1.Thorough Kitchen Cleaning

Thorough and frequent cleaning of the kitchen by staff is the best measures you can take to avoid failing a food inspection. The spread of bacteria (e.g. salmonella, E.Coli) happens quickly when countertops and cooking utensils are unsanitary and staff members handle food without first washing their hands. Make sure that your staff follow every detail of cleaning within their work space throughout their shift such as:

  • Washing down and sanitising all surfaces
  • Changing sanitising water and rags frequently
  • Cleaning kitchen equipment such as grease traps, grills, and fryers
  • Removing trash from bins
  • Sweeping and mopping the floor
  • Wearing disposable sanitary gloves when handling raw meat
  • Separating raw meat from ready-to-eat foods
  • Cooking dairy and meat at the correct internal temperature
  • Promptly refrigerating food to prevent spoilage

It takes cooperation from all involved to ensure that your hygiene checklist is done properly. It’s easy to overlook important cleaning tasks and cut corners. However, bad cleaning habits could cause you to fail an unexpected inspection.

Side Note: Make sure to describe food accurately on a label or menu so that its description is not misleading for customers.

2.Kitchen Extraction

Proper maintenance of these systems, ensures compliance with the regulations. Food Hygiene Regulations also requires proper maintenance of these systems. The poor performance of most kitchen ventilation systems results from the accumulation of particulate matter in the ductwork itself. Proper maintenance of these systems ensures that the face of the canopy, baffle grease filters, and other parts are thoroughly cleaned. Maintenance should be frequently carried out in order to comply with the requirements of the Food Safety Regulations 1995.

See: Maintainance Guide for Kitchen Ventilation

3.Conduct Self-Inspections Regularly

Take the initiative to conduct regular self-inspections to avoid food hygiene violations. Just as is done in an official inspection, schedule self-inspections at random so that employees will be more alert following health and safety practices on a daily basis. This will also give you insight into the most common and reoccurring violations (if any) that are happening in your kitchen. Target specific food violations more frequently until these problems are taken care of to your satisfaction, and reward employees who make food practice adjustments quickly.

4. Familiarise Yourself with the Food Hygiene Practice

It’s important to review both the Food Hygiene Practice and your local authority food law enforcement. Make sure that all staff are educated on food safety concerns that apply to your commercial kitchen. It’s vital that you stay abreast of any changes in the regulations each time there’s a Food Hygiene update. Regular staff meetings will ensure that kitchen staff stay compliant with food guidelines, especially those related to food handling to prevent the occurrence of foodborne illnesses, allergic reactions, and the spread of pathogens and bacteria.

See: Food Hygiene Guide

Being Prepared is Always Best

Unless a natural disaster or some other unexpected circumstance arises, it’s guaranteed that health inspectors will make at least one annual visit unannounced to your place of business. The most practical strategy for obtaining a passing grade inspection is advanced preparation. Inspectors will check your premises, how you operate, the types of food you make or prepare and your management system for food safety. All of these measures ensure that the food prepared in your commercial kitchen is safe to eat.

It’s important to note that inspectors have no set time as to when they can visit your kitchen. How often inspectors come to your business depends on your business type and its previous food safety history. Some premises might be inspected at least twice a year while others are inspected less often or as a routine visit.

Side Note: Inspectors will usually come to your business without prior notice.

If You Fail an Inspection

Unfortunately, an inspection may come due to a complaint(s). If this happens, pay attention to all of the feedback given to you by the inspector. You’ll be informed about any problems they’ve identified and how these problems can be avoided. You must be given any required actions as a result of the inspection in writing. Keep in mind that the inspectors should allow you to make any corrections to your kitchen in a reasonable period. The exception to this allowance is when there’s an immediate risk to your customers’ health. You also have the right to appeal the inspectors actions if you feel their determination was unfair.

When You Pass an Inspection If you should pass an inspection, you’ll be given a sticker/certificate with your inspection result or rating. Post your rating in a place that’s easily seen by your customers to show proof that your business follows good hygiene practices. They can also find out this information on the Food Standards Agency’s website.