4 Things Health Inspectors Don’t Want to See in Restaurants

Keeping your restaurant clean and tidy helps you to avoid unwelcome bad reports following a health inspection of your premises. Having poorly-kept and unclean premises can result in accidents like slips and trips, and also increases the potential for outbreaks of illness. We take a look at four common issues and how you can prevent them.

1. Mice and cockroaches
Mice and cockroaches are nocturnal, so even if you don’t catch sight of them, it doesn’t mean they’re not lurking about. Some of the signs of these creatures include:

  • Mice – droppings (3-8mm in size), grease smudges along walls or skirting boards, mounds of dirt and body grease, scratching noises in walls or ceilings, signs of nesting (such as shredded newspapers or fabric), and an ammonia-like odour.
  • Cockroaches – tiny black droppings (about 1mm), smear marks, shed skin, damage to food items, and a musty smell./li>

If you do catch sight of the occasional mouse or cockroach, it may be a sign of a larger infestation. To remedy this, it’s best to call in a professional pest controller to fix the problem quickly and humanely rather than do it yourself, which will likely take a lot longer and be less effective. It’s also important to keep your premises clean on an ongoing basis to prevent recurrence.

2. Poor housekeeping
Restaurant owners are required to keep a clean and safe establishment. Poor housekeeping can result in accidents and illness, and can also drive customers away. This includes:

  • Cleaning up spills as quickly as possible and removing obstructions to avoid slips, trips and falls.
  • Designing a well laid-out kitchen with adequate room for storage of items and for safe working.
  • Regular cleaning of work surfaces and utensils, especially between tasks.
  • Daily removal of waste.
  • Keeping the premises in good repair and free of pests.
  • Daily professional cleaning by a restaurant cleaning service to ensure proper hygiene is maintained.

3. Poor food handling practices
Restaurant owners are required to follow Australian Standards 3.2.2 for safe handling of food.

This includes maintaining correct temperatures for at-risk foods such as raw and cooked meats and poultry, dairy foods, seafood, cooked rice and pasta, eggs, processed fruit and vegetables, nuts and beans, and cream or custard-filled goods.

Poor food handling and hygiene can lead to outbreaks of illness and even close a restaurant down.
It’s important that food handlers are trained in and follow food standards in detail. The general guidelines from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand include minimising the time during which food is held between 5°C and 60°C, as this is considered the danger zone for pathogen growth. Food must also be stored correctly, cooked to at least 75°C and reheated to 60°C, and not be allowed to reach more than 5°C during thawing.

It’s also important that staff wash and dry their hands before handling food and that any employees with contagious illnesses such as flu or gastro are not permitted to handle food.

4. Grease build-up in hoods
Grease can build up over time in rangehoods and may even remain there unnoticed in some cases. This not only creates an unhealthy environment, but it can also be a fire hazard and can lead to equipment failure. To remedy this, your rangehood filters should be cleaned regularly with water and detergent.

Keeping your restaurant clean is of course important not only to avoid negative reports, but for the welfare of people who work in and visit your premises. Make sure to engage restaurant cleaners who use high-strength disinfectants and environmentally safe products and equipment, and who can devise a tailored program for your establishment.

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