Gotta love the health inspector

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Joined Aug 21, 2009
We had a visit from him this week (thank goodness I missed it..lol) and I just have to comment on the inconsistencies between inspectors. The stuff the inspector was dinging us on the person who inspected us before we opened approved! What he had said in his report does make sense but why didn't the other one catch it?? Oh well.. we'll fix the stuff and he'll be happy.
 
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it seems like you can never get 100%....i've had multitudes of 99% and 97% but I'm always dinged for something stupid.....lid not closed on the dumpster outside, drink cup in someones station ect. ....i just think they have to find something or they think thier not doing thier job.....i always thought that would be a great job. If (good) ex-chefs did health inspections I don't think the scores would be near as high
 
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I know!!

When we first started up, the handwash sink wasnt in place. It was sitting on the floor waiting for hubby to come back on leave n plumb it in. EHO payed a visit n wern't happy of course n gave a date for a further inspection.
Due date arrived. sink was in place. But so was very new recruit who was a blooming disaster. I'd just entered the kitchen and about to give her a gobful for the state she'd left the kitchen, when in walked EHO. I was mortified!!

The officer said hi, just come to check your handwash sink, turned the hot and cold taps on n off, said tata! and off she went. 30 seconds tops. Had she looked about her,we'd have been in trouble.

New recruit didnt last the day, and neither did my palpitations, thank goodness
 
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Joined Oct 18, 2007
Everyone who has been inspected by different inspectors has noted the same thing.
One never wants to see hollandaise out for service, another completely understands that there are acceptable limits.
One ignores your table legs, another acts as if a family member has died from exposure to dirty table legs.
Best you can do is do what the current one wants, there is no way around it.
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
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I got dinged once for having a lightbulb out. :confused:
 
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I was told many years ago that the health insp will never give 100% because there has to be one thing wrong some place in the kitchen. I get 100% in our Cafe all the time, we are under strict sanitation guide lines and are inspected once a month by our client, and twice a year by the HD,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,BillB
 
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I came to the conclusion that they're human, and behave as such....

I remember opening up our new catering kitchen, stupid (delated) wouldn't pass us because our brand new hi-temp Hobart pass-thru d/w was off by ONE DEGREE. But the kicker was that prior to purchasing the place (which was a dump) the same inspector had given it an OK, and in that case the existing d/w was a rusted out pc of crap leaking bleach (owners too cheap to use sanitzer), as well as grease dripping off the ceilings, and--well you get the picture. We got the boys from Hobart to tweak the machine and called back, her collegue did the inspection: Walked in the place, did a 5 sec floor to ceiling visual, and whipped out the paperwork to sign. I asked him if he wanted to run his thermometer through the d/w, he declined and signed off.....
 
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What I find really amusing is the guy nailed us on where our towel dispensers are located on the line and well.. he only insisted we move one of them but we have one on the other end of the line that is positioned pretty much the same way and he let that one go. I wonder what awaits on his next visit.
 
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I invited our local EHO to view our new chamber vacuum packing machine and the new HACCP procedures I'd put in place for sous vide cooking. Before he left he told me his collegue would be in the following week for a complete inspection. I couldn't believe he gave us a heads-up! First time in my career I knew when I'd be getting inspected; we recieved a 5-star scores on doors rating as a result.:peace:


Scores on the Doors : Cambridge City Council : Pembroke College
 
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One thing to keep in mind is that they have a lot of latitude in terms of interpreting the rules. And that each inspector has personal bug-a-bears that he/she particularly look for.

But sometimes they are arbitrary too. I used to work for a motel that put in one of those do-it-yourself waffle set ups. At the next inspection, based on the waffle machine, the inspector declared that we were now a restaurant. As such, he insisted we convert to a three-bowl sink. But he waived the requirement that we put in a grease trap.

The killer, of course, is that nobody there knew, nor cared, about the purpose of a tri-sink. Nor did the inspector insist that it be used properly---just that it be installed. I almost wondered out loud if he had a brother-in-law in the plumbing business. But refrained.
 
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Remember, they can always find something if they want to. Sometimes like all of us, it depends on the night before and what kind of day we are having.
 
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Precisely, Ed. And therein lies the rub. Standards should be objective; not based on the whim or mood of an inspector.

The problem is one of all-encompassing power. The same kitchen that scored 97% yesterday can be posted with a "closed by order of health department" sticker today. And what recourse do you have?
 
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We had the health inspector come in last week right during the middle of lunch service. Even though it was busy I had my kitchen manager walk through with them, take notes on any concerns and pay attention to anything that the inspector had an issue with. We sailed through with 2 minor (non critical) violations that were fixed on the spot.
My experience with health inspectors is that if I don't view them as an adversary, and that they are there to enforce the rules to everyone, and that they don't see kitchen staff all scatter when they arrive it usually puts them more at ease and maybe makes their job a little easier.
 
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I don't mind the health inspector or people from head office being in. I know I am doing my job properly and I can answer any questions they may have. They are there to make sure what we are serving our customers is safe for them and that we are keeping a clean, safe kitchen.
 
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Its not just the inspectors you have to fear, the boss can be such an ar*e.

I worked in a catholic nursing home years ago. Inspector gave us a clear pass but advised, as a btw, that some of the dried herbs were out of date. He said its no big deal, but bin em and buy more.
The boss, a nun with NO kitchen savvy went balistic. Gave me a bollocking in front of other staff and swore I'd be the ruin of the home and didnt deserve to call myself a chef!
I didnt stay long after that -neither did she. She was done for cruelty and embezelment and to avoid charges and embarassment, I heard she was shipped out to do mission work in Africa.
 
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A trick I learned from an old timer. When inspector comes in, offer him coffee and a sandwich or donut. Once he takes it, he is on the hook as in most states they are not supposed to accept anything. But human nature being what it is, most accept. And you are correct the power makes them feel superior.
 
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County health are easy to deal with, the "TRICK" is to know their code better then they do( I`ve run several out scratching their heads as they left). Our current county inspector used to work in pest control ( and thinks she still does). the trick with this one was to simply talk to her and "make friends", she has actually helped me out alot.
Now, the NSF auditor on the other hand can cause me to " crap my pants" on sight. Has anyone had the "pleasure" of dealing with these lovely folks? they do county health, HACCP, and OSHA inspections all at the same time.....and if we fail our unit is fined 5k, not to mention the rips we get from corpotate.
 

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