Retail and food service operators implement “control measures” to ensure food safety. Control measures are actions or activities that are used to prevent, eliminate, or reduce food safety hazards. Inspectors need to determine the control measures that should be implemented to prevent the occurrence of foodborne illness risk factors in each food preparation process. In order to determine the foodborne illness risk factors common to each operation, it is important for inspectors to understand that the food preparation processes and all the associated control measures initiated by a retail or food service operator represent a food safety management system. It will be necessary for inspectors to ask questions in order to gain information about the system already in place. Once the degree of active managerial control is determined, inspectors will be able to assist operators with strengthening their existing food safety management systems.
Lead by Example
Nonverbal communication is just as important as verbal communication in relaying important food safety principles to retail and food service operators. By setting the example during inspections, inspectors not only demonstrate competency, but they also relay important food safety information to the person in charge and food employees. The following are ways that inspectors set the example during inspections:
Washing their hands when entering the food preparation area at the beginning of the inspection and after engaging in any activities that might contaminate their hands
Not working when they are suffering from symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, vomiting, or jaundice or if they are diagnosed with a disease transmittable by food
Being careful not to touch ready-to-eat (RTE) food with their bare hands
Washing and sanitizing their thermocouple probe at the start of the inspection and between foods
Using a proper hair restraint and practicing good personal hygiene
Being careful not to contaminate clean and sanitized food contact-surfaces with unclean hands or their inspection equipment.
Conduct Inspections at Variable Times
Inspectors should enter the food establishment during hours of operation or at other reasonable times. Inspectors should show identification and provide the permit holder or person in charge with a verbal or written notice of the purpose of the inspection. Procedures outlined in the Food Code and in the jurisdiction’s procedures should be followed if access to conduct an inspection is denied. Refusal should be documented on the inspection report and an administrative or judicial inspection order obtained.
In planning for inspections, inspectors should consider the importance of timing. Several operational steps at retail such as receiving, preparation, and cooling can be evaluated only during limited time periods. In order to properly evaluate critical
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