Food hygiene and standards inspections represent a living nightmare for so many businesses up and down the country, but why? Surely, if you’re following all the rules and running an establishment properly, you should have nothing to worry about, right?
The trouble is, so many establishments are being kept in anything but the kinds of conditions they should be in – precisely why such inspections are so routinely feared. But no matter where you stand on keeping your own premises clean, safe and sanitary, what can you expect if you receive an unexpected visit from an EHO?
Well, first of all they will go about a fairly in-depth inspection of the place from top to bottom. If they are investigating a specific complaint, their efforts will be focused accordingly. They will be looking for any evidence of equipment, working practices, policies or oversights of any kind that could potentially lead to the contamination of food.
This will involve a full inspection and documentation of all food preparation areas, storage facilities and practices, food handling, quality control and so on. They will essentially follow the chain from the moment the produce arrives to when it is served to the customer, in order to assess safety and hygiene standards.
In addition to this, it is also perfectly possible that the EHO will take samples of foods and other materials will be taken away for detailed analysis. Along with looking for visible signs of health and hygiene oversights, the EHO will also be interested in the risks that cannot be seen by the naked eye.
When Visits Take Place
Routine visits are paid by EHOs in accordance with the perceived risk of the establishment. Low-risk establishments may be visited once every five years, while high-risk businesses may be visited every six months. In addition, visits may be prompted at any time on the back of customer complaints, or any evidence whatsoever that there may be oversights taking place.
Closures and Reprimands
In most instances, the EHO will produce a report outlining what could, should and must be improved for the sake of overall customer safety. In the case of any unit found to be in serious violation of health and hygiene standards, the place can be temporarily or even permanently closed down on the spot.
Which is precisely why it is of the utmost importance to be as proactive as possible with cleanliness and hygiene standards – you never know when an EHOP might come knocking on your door.