According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data from the year 2000, “foodborne disease causes approximately 76 million illnesses; 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths here in the U.S. each year.” Food safety has therefore become central to the food experience for all restaurants.
Food safety leader Steritech says “Today, more than ever before, food safety violations are top of mind with your customers. Consumers don’t hesitate to share their experiences — a single negative food safety incident can pose serious risks to your bottom line and your brand.”
According to food inspectors Noraxx, there is a high cost to “good enough” when it comes to food safety. “In a heartbeat, that one bad experience could undo all the good will that might have taken months or years to build up.”
We researched over a dozen audits on food safety, and found questions that you could find useful as you update your food safety audit.
- Cold foods maintained at 41 degrees or below in all cold-holding devices including refrigerators, storage devices and ice-wells.
- Hot foods maintained at 140 degrees or above.
- Refrigeration records are available and complete.
- Proper cooling methods (placing food in shallow pans or using cooling wands etc.) are used for foods that require time/temperature control for safety.
- Frozen foods are held solidly frozen so that they are hard to the touch.
- Date marking is applied at time of preparation to ready-to-eat food prepared on site and intended to be held cold more than 24 hours and does not exceed a 7-day shelf-life.
- Food products dated, and not held past their expiration date.
- Discard policy is being followed – old food is “wasted” during inspection.
- Received food put away promptly.
- All ingredients are refrigerated when not in use.
- Foods are from commercial suppliers. Foods and packaging are in sound condition.
- Foods and food-contact packaging are stored at least six inches off of the floor.
- Fruits and vegetables are properly washed prior to processing and serving.
- Produce wash procedures are executed properly and have the correct concentration.
- Foods are properly protected from contamination.
- Staff know the proper procedures for preparing gluten-free menu items.
Equipment and Utensils
- Food-contact surfaces properly sanitized (at least every 4 hours during continuous use).
- Food-contact surfaces of equipment and utensils durable, non-toxic, easily cleanable and in good condition.
- Utensils in the prep area are clean and well-maintained.
- There is a dedicated thermometer available in the kitchen area for verifying temperatures – which is clean and well maintained.
- Fire extinguisher – accessible with inspection dates.
- First aid kit – stocked and easily accessible.
- Wiping cloths are kept clean and dry or else immersed in properly diluted sanitizer. Separate cloths are used for wiping food-contact and non-food-contact surfaces.
- Disposable cutlery – stored in a sanitary manner with all handles facing the same way.
- Sanitizer test kits are open and readily available for use.
- No bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. Disposable gloves worn when handling them.
- Eating, drinking and tobacco use restricted to non-food areas. Drinking allowed from cups with a lid and straw and stored so they cannot contaminate the food-contact surfaces.
- All hand sinks have hot and cold water available.
- Every employee has a branded hat and long hair is tied up.
- Employees, including drivers, are not wearing outdoor clothes in the food preparation area.
- Jewelry on the hands and wrists is limited to a plain ring with no set stones.
- Associates frequently washing hands to standard using correct hand washing steps.
- Associates not displaying symptoms of illness.
- Chemical sanitizer solutions at proper concentration and temperature per label instructions.
- Original containers of toxic materials have a legible manufacturer’s label. Bleach not allowed or approved in restaurants.
- Interior garbage containers are cleaned and emptied as needed.
- Exterior garbage storage is covered and doors kept closed between uses. Containers are emptied as necessary and the surrounding area is maintained clean to avoid pests.
- Sinks – not used for prep and dishwashing at the same time.
- Floor – clean under shelving.
Facilities and Controls
- Ventilation is adequate: vents, fans and guards are clean.
- Plumbing provides adequate pressure.
- Pest prevention program is effective.
- Floors, walls, and ceilings are smooth, easily cleanable and in good repair.
- Potable water is available from the public water system or a non-public system that is properly maintained.
- Air gaps/backflow prevention devices are in place where required. Sewage disposal systems, including grease traps, are operating properly.
- Mop sink is clean and in working condition, with mops and mop buckets hung or stored properly.
- Back door area – clean and organized.
- Shelving – clean/organized/no rust/sufficient.
- All employees preparing food have a valid food handlers certificate on-site.
- National food safety certifications posted.
Food safety audits are an important part of franchising. That is why FranchiseBlast has integrations with food safety leaders such as Steritech and Noraxx.
*The questions in this post are for information only. To do a compliant food safety audit, please consult a certified professional.