Tips For Kitchen Inspection

Business By pj22 Updated 28 Sep 2011 , 2:26pm by pj22

pj22 Posted 21 Sep 2011 , 8:55pm
post #1 of 16

I am going to be inspected soon for my home kitchen by the Health Department and was wondering if people here could give me tips and advice on how it goes.

Anything important to be kept in mind? Should I make any product for them to taste or have them watch me bake something?

Tips for any questions they ask or anything important to keep in mind? Really appreciate your input!! Thanks!

15 replies
MimiFix Posted 22 Sep 2011 , 2:12am
post #2 of 16

Your HD should tell you everything the need from you. I don't think they are particularly interested in watching you bake. The inspector is interested in your kitchen, equipment, and level of cleanliness. (Every inspector I've ever met has refused to accept any food or drink.)

And you need to relax! Start making a list of your questions so you don't forget. When the inspector arrives, take out your list and pour yourself a cup of coffee (or tea).

Taterfink Posted 22 Sep 2011 , 4:55am
post #3 of 16
Originally Posted by MimiFix

And you need to relax! Start making a list of your questions so you don't forget. When the inspector arrives, take out your list and pour yourself a cup of coffee (or tea).

What wonderful advise! icon_biggrin.gif

pj22 Posted 22 Sep 2011 , 11:12am
post #4 of 16

Thanks!! Do you think I should wear a chef coat? And what exactly do they look for during the inspection? The cleanliness and the work flow?

MimiFix Posted 22 Sep 2011 , 11:26am
post #5 of 16
Originally Posted by pj22

Thanks!! Do you think I should wear a chef coat? And what exactly do they look for during the inspection? The cleanliness and the work flow?

I don't know about your state, but in NY the cottage law is meant to keep a home-based business small, such as no commercial equipment allowed. So for NY type cottage law I do not recommend a chef coat. Casual work clothes or anything neat and clean. I assume you contacted your HD and asked them about the requirements for having a home kitchen. That is what they're looking for. Neat, clean, knows how to follow rules, etc.

Really, don't worry, most inspectors want to help people become certified. Please post again to give us the good news!

scp1127 Posted 22 Sep 2011 , 11:41am
post #6 of 16

I asked for a pre-inspection, which my HD provides. When she got there, she gave me my permit. The issues I had... put floor sealer on the concrete around the floor drain, pest control, and add the self-closing door hinge, did not keep me from opening. I had an appointment with my contractor for the hinges and the pest control people for a few days later. She just gave me the permit with those three things noted. That was a nice surprise.

pj22 Posted 22 Sep 2011 , 8:50pm
post #7 of 16

Thanks so much!! I applied and they should be here anytime next week. scp1127, does the actual inspection occur after the pre-inspection? I did not hear of any such thing while reading the info packet.

scp1127 Posted 23 Sep 2011 , 3:22am
post #8 of 16

Yes, you can just have them in to look around. But what happened to me was that the inspector told me that the few unfinished things wouldn't prevent me from getting my permit. But I really just expected a check of anything I had wrong with the real inspection in a week. I was just surprised that It worked out so well.

pj22 Posted 23 Sep 2011 , 4:14am
post #9 of 16

Oh.. ok. That's nice that it worked out well!!

SweetpeasBakery Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 5:03am
post #10 of 16

I had my home inspection by the local board of health last month- things he looked for were the temperature of my fridge and freezer, labels on EVERYTHING, that it was kept in a separate space from household food and equipment, that it was the right height off the floor, the temperature of my dishwasher and also the product labels I'm required by the state to put on my products.

I'm required to keep a dishwasher log (paper strips you run through and tell you if the water is hot enough to sanitize properly). I also needed to submit my product labels, brand names and places where I purchased them.

It was a lot but it's all over now icon_smile.gif

pj22 Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 11:34am
post #11 of 16

Oh wow! That's a lot of detailed checking!! They say that they are going to check temperatures too but I am not required to label my stuff thankfully!

cakelady2266 Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 6:21pm
post #12 of 16

I built from scratch so the HD had to approve my plans and they gave me a list of requirements. They also dropped by during the building process to make sure everything was up to par. If you are renovating an existing building they HD can do a pre-inspection walk through and let you know what needs to be changed/fixed.

During the inspection to get your permit they check EVERYTHING. If you have any minor things you haven't completed that shouldn't keep you from getting your permit.

indydebi Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 7:11pm
post #13 of 16

Yes on the temp checks: Refrigerators below 41 degrees; freezers at 0 degrees; water temps at ALL sinks. My hot water at the hand washing sink was too hot and they cited that .... if water is too hot, then people won't wash their hands properly .... as big a problem as having NO hot water. One-use towels at the hand-washing sink and hand-soap; self-closer hinge on the restroom door; had to put tiles on the wall around my mop sink for moisture protection; trash cans; labels on cleaners.

You shouldn't have any food in the kitchen until after the inspection (otherwise you are storing food in an uninspected kitchen) but on subsequent inspections, they will look for proper food storage: no eggs on the top shelf; no produce on the bottom shelves; no meat above any produce; any food in containers s/b labeled with a name/date.

cakelady2266 Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 7:46pm
post #14 of 16

Make sure you put a sign above the hand washing sink that says hand washing sink. For future inspections, if you have any personal food items in the fridge keep them in a door shelf marked "employees only."

If you are doing cakes and baked goods only it should be pretty painless. If you are catering or selling other foods you really should take the ServSafe food handler course. My state required it be taken or you can't renew you permit. I only do cakes and baked goods but I'm glad I took it, I really learned a lot.

jomer Posted 27 Sep 2011 , 11:50pm
post #15 of 16

i agree with Mimifix, Relax... and i also suggest being prepared not to pass with a 100% the first visit.. it's just the way the 'game' is played.. they'll show up, look around, tell you what you need to fix or change, and then make arrangements for a re-inspection.. if they pass you first time thru, Great!, but if not, just take it in stride this is how the process works..

but to answer your question, having been a USDA custom slaugher house inspector, some of the most common problems are:

water test: if you have city water you're fine, but if you have well water, you'll need to prove your water meets the requirements of safe drinking water. normally you'll need to have your well water test every year, if not every 6 months.

lights: make sure all your lights are enclosed, or have safety covers (there's plasic tubes you can put florecent tubes in)

animals: no idea how to help you if you have dogs and cats, but make sure you can show they don't have access to your working area..

cleanness; make sure everything is clean, and look closely, like turn you mixer over, make sure there no build up on the feet, etc.. make sure none of you cutting boards, sheet pans, etc, do not have deep cuts that could habor bacteria, etc.. as mentionad above, i'm sure you also need to show how you clean/sterilize your equipment

hand cleaning; make sure you have soap and 'single use towels" (paper towels, a cloth hand towel is not 'single use'.. )

and just think safety in general, like no posionous chemicals near or above you work area.. raw chicken sitting over your finish good in your fridge, fly paper over you counter etc..

finally, don't be too nice to the inspectors, or they'll keep finding reasons to fail you so they can keep coming back... haha.. ok, just joking on this last one icon_smile.gif

pj22 Posted 28 Sep 2011 , 2:26pm
post #16 of 16

Thanks for all the responses and info! I so appreciate it! I will keep the one-use towels in mind... I tend to use washcloths around the house. Thanks indydebi for the reminder about keeping no eggs on the top shelf and produce on the bottom shelf... that had slipped out of my mind!

Yes cakelady, I am only doing baked goods.. not catering. Thanks for the tip about labels.. I'll label all shelves where I plan to store business ingredients separately.

LOL jomer.. I won't be very nice to them!! hahahha Thanks for the tip about the lights and cutting boards! I don't have pets so I don't have to worry about chaining off the kitchen icon_smile.gif

Thanks so much everyone!! I hope the inspection gets done soon!!

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