The Health Department and Food Safety
Residents and visitors have thousands of places to choose from when they want to eat out in in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. The ti/state area is full of places to eat. Some good some bad. So who are health inspectors? What do they do? How should I prepare?
Restaurants, cafes and other eateries that prepare food on site receive regular inspections by the health department to help ensure that your meal is prepared and cooked safely.
Health inspectors, who are known as sanitarians, ensure that safeguards are in place to protect food from contamination, both by the people who handle the food as well as from other sources. During a visit, health inspectors look to see that employees regularly wash their hands in a sink that has soap, hot water and paper towels; that utensils and surfaces that come in contact with raw meat are not used to prepare ready-to-eat foods; that foods are kept at the appropriate temperature and that rodents and other pests are not present.
View Inspection Reports Online
Health inspectors prepare a written report whenever they inspect a food service establishment. These inspection reports can be viewed online at New York State Department of Health/Health Data. Within the reports, there are sections available for the inspector to list critical and non-critical violations.
It’s helpful to know:
- A Critical Violation is a violation that relates directly to factors which may lead to food borne illness.
- A Non-Critical Violation is a violation that relates to maintenance and cleanliness of food Service operations.
Food service establishments that are considered high-risk are generally inspected twice a year. High-risk establishments are full service, dine-in restaurants that prepare and cook large quantities of raw food on site. Establishments that are considered medium-risk and low-risk are inspected once annually. Medium-risk establishments are those that serve mostly commercially prepared food and are typically fast food chain restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King. Low-risk establishments are those that have limited or no food preparation on site, like ice cream shops and bars. Critical violations are corrected at the time of inspection and non-critical violations are given a re-inspection date and must be corrected by that time.
So to be prepared it’s important as the health inspectors will be checking your wall for the Servsafe certification. They will fine you big time if you don’t have it. So invest in a few hours in coming to one of Westchester Food Safety’s Food Managers Safety Protection courses and exams and keep your food safe and your customers coming back for more. Food safety makes you money. Training your staff and management is key. Call today!