Friday, 21 December 2012
Ace Your Inspection from an Environmental Health Officer
Christmas Comes But Once A Year – and indeed a visit from your local Environmental Health Officer can come round as quickly. If however, the thought of your EHO’s next visit doesn’t exactly fill you with festive cheer, you’re not on your own.
The stress of EHO visits came second in the Top 10 causes of concern in the Safer Food Group’s March 2011 survey of independent caterers. (71% voted this as a major headache, with only worries over rising costs scoring higher). Here’s our guide to reducing the stress of your next EHO visit, to being prepared and maybe even how to gain a business benefit or two from the occasion.
What is your EHO actually doing there?
First thing to tackle is what’s your EHO actually going to look at on the visit, and best can you prepare for a positive and straightforward inspection. Having met with several EHO’s in the past from various regions we have put together our Top 10 priority inspection points that an EHO will be looking for on their visit.
EHOs Top 10 inspection points:
1. Are the premises really clean throughout? (first impressions really do count)
2. Do you have hand washing stations & evidence of their use?
3. Are you all observing correct working hygiene practises?
4. Are there any signs of pests? (mice, rats, insects etc)?
5. Are you observing correct stock control?
6. Are you preparing, cooking and storing correctly?
7. Do you have a Food Safety Management System?
8. Have you identified your Critical Control Points?
9. Have you prepared a list of questions to asking during your de-brief?
10. Have you received practical advice on how to improve star rating?
If you’re not fully familiar with all these points, don’t worry. Contrary to the popular myth, your EHO is no ogre. If in doubt, ask. Here’s our quick guide to the potential business benefits of an open and honest partnership with your EHO.
6 benefits of an improved working relationship with your EHO:
1. Potential improvement in your Food Hygiene Rating
2. Public recognition of your standards, PR & commercial opportunities
3. Free advice on reducing food waste and other efficiencies
4. Reduced likelihood of food poisoning affecting your customers
5. Reduced threat to your livelihood caused by an outbreak and closure notice
6. Increased confidence in you, leading to potentially reduced visit frequency
Your next EHO visit doesn’t need to be headache, these days it’s all about being open and honest. If you have a concern, share it with your EHO and you’ll get the advice and help to put it right. If you know what they are likely to want to look at, you can be prepared, and the chances of a nasty surprise are much reduced.
Have a safe and happy Christmas