EHO Inspections For Food Safety
Safe preparation of menu items is the goal of foodservice establishments. Due to time, lack of trained staff, and a fast-paced environment, it is not always easy for food handlers to wash hands regularly, keep work areas sanitary and take the temperature of the foods served. Who is going to check that restaurants follow health regulations? The Environmental Health Officer, or Public Health Inspector, is responsible to ensure that the safety of the public is protected. On my inspections, I never notified managers in advance so I always arrived at any time during the day. I have observed many interesting situations in kitchens. I remember one particular example where there were bird droppings throughout the kitchen, but no bird in sight. After investigating further, I discovered a bird cage in the manager’s office on the top floor. It turned out that the manager let his pet parrot fly around the kitchen much to the horror of the staff. You may think that bird droppings are harmless, but they carry disease which is why live birds are banned in kitchens. One other drive-in restaurant that I inspected had rodent droppings throughout the storage area. The mice had been chewing all the containers such as cups, plates, and cup holders. The restaurant was infested with mice and was issued an order to close down. Mice are pests and their droppings can carry Salmonella bacteria which can result in food poisoning. As an EHO, I was able to take action to correct both situations. Without inspections taking place, the public would be placed at a greater risk for unnecessarily developing foodborne illness.