Jim Austin: When To Expect Inspections

15 October 2010 Categories: Food Safety Inspection Tips

By Jim Austin, Colorado Restaurant Consulting

I sometimes hear employees say that health inspections occur only between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm on weekdays. Well…that is when they usually DO occur, but they CAN occur just about anytime. Here is the language of the regulation,

“Agents of the Department, after proper identification, shall be permitted to enter any retail food establishment during business hours and at other times during which activity is evident to determine compliance with these rules and regulations.”

If you open at 11:00 am, the inspector can inspect your prep activities at, say, 10:00 am – SURPRISE! If you close at 9:00 pm, the inspector can arrive at 8:30 pm and inspect your final food service and your closing procedures.

Think about this: early-bird inspectors can show up at 6:30 am (I’m not kidding), night-owls may start late and work through the evening hours, and some may work a Tuesday through Saturday schedule. It all depends on how the local agency schedules their inspectors.

Don’t make food safety a game of cat and mouse. For the sake of your customers health, your business investment, and your reputation, exert consistent control over your food safety procedures and the practices of your employees. Do it every shift, every day.

Editor’s Note: Jim Austin writes monthly for RMFIA.org.

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