The closing conference should include a detailed discussion of the food establishment's plans for correcting violations found during the inspection. The evidence collected or observed during the inspection and the alternatives available for compliance should be emphasized. On-site corrections made during the inspection should be acknowledged on the inspection report and in the closing conference.
The compliance plan should address changes in procedures that will prevent the recurrence of noted violations. The food establishment's compliance plans should be formally documented on the inspection report form. Follow-up letters may be necessary to elicit fulfillment of these agreements. It is important to stress to the operator that long-term correction of violations related to foodborne illness risk factors and Food Code interventions is far more important than corrections of non-critical items.
Although a retail and food service operator has the responsibility for establishing a food safety management system for controlling foodborne illness risk factors, inspectors have a vital, multi-faceted role in consumer protection. It is essential that inspectors are provided with the proper training, equipment, time, and resources to adequately perform their jobs.
The primary role of inspectors is to ensure that the operator has effective control of foodborne illness risk factors. Once inspectors have established a dialogue with the person in charge and employees, conducted a menu/food list review, and established a dialogue with the person in charge, inspectors will have enough information to mentally place menu items into one of the three process flows. The inspection can then focus on assessing the operator’s active managerial control of foodborne illness risk factors associated with each process.
Once out-of-control foodborne illness risk factors are identified, the role of inspectors shifts to assisting the operator with strengthening the existing food safety management system through intervention strategies designed to achieve immediate and long-term compliance. With inspector’s assistance, a retail and food service operator can achieve long-term behavioral change resulting in a reduction in risk factor occurrence and an increase in public health protection.
Annex 5 – Conducting Risk-based Inspections 542