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processes that occur outside of the normal 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. working hours, an inspector should be allowed the flexibility to conduct inspections early in the morning, late in the evening, and even on weekends.


Establish Inspection Priorities and Use Inspection Time Wisely

With the limited time allotted for inspections, inspectors must develop clear priorities to make the most efficient use of their time in each food establishment. Although basic sanitation issues generally do not change during the course of an inspection, critical behaviors, practices, and procedures leading to foodborne illness risk factors may be only observable during limited time periods of the preparation or cooling process. For this reason, assessment of the active managerial control of foodborne illness risk factors should generally be performed before reviewing basic sanitation issues.

To effectively set priorities, the following four activities should be completed early in the inspection:

  • (1)

    Establish an open dialogue with the person in charge

  • (2)

    Review previous inspection records

  • (3)

    Conduct a menu or food list review

  • (4)

    Conduct a quick walk-though.

  • (1)

    Establish an Open Dialogue with the Person in Charge

The tone of the inspection is often set during the first few minutes of the inspection. A professional but personable approach is the balance which should be maintained. Genuine interest in the food establishment and the staff translates into good relations which may be helpful in conveying the goal of promoting public health. Having an open dialogue with the person in charge during all phases of the inspection gives inspectors an opportunity to learn important information about the existing food safety management system.

It is important to know both the strengths and weaknesses of the existing food safety management system early in the inspection in order to focus the inspection on weak areas. Questions about practices and procedures related to foodborne illness risk factors and Food Code interventions such as the establishment’s employee health policy and consumer advisory notice should be asked during all phases of the inspection. It is important to ask enough questions to fully understand the system being utilized in the food establishment. This is especially true when evaluating whether the employees are adhering to the established no bare hand contact and handwashing policies. Asking the person in charge questions about important activities such as receiving, cooling, and preparation is also important in relaying the importance of out-of- control foodborne illness risk factors.

The person in charge should be encouraged to accompany inspectors during the inspection. This may ultimately save time since violations can be pointed out and

Annex 5 – Conducting Risk-based Inspections 518

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