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Secrets to Self Inspection by Sysco – Part II

Here is part two of the Sysco article from yesterday around implementing a self inspection model. Click here to check out part one.

This part of the article highlights the idea of using local resources that are available to you through your local health departments. For example:

  • Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, for example, has developed the Hospitality Education Program. HEP employees are dedicated to training foodservice professionals in how to conduct self-inspections.
  • Wyoming’s Department of Agriculture also trains operators in food safety.

This was the most interesting to me, also in Wyoming: “Operators who take part in the “Blue Ribbon” program, the state’s voluntary HACCP program, are exempted from routine inspections, according to Chuck Higgins, manager of the consumer health services section. Instead, inspectors do a yearly verification of an operation’s HACCP procedures by checking HACCP logs, conducting informal interviews with managers and employees, and observing employees in action.”

That’s a great program! It would be great if more health departments had similar programs. A nice way for them to reduce the amount of inspections that their inspectors have to perform all the while maintaining standards.

I have copied part two of the article below:

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You can supplement self-inspections by tapping into the resources of your local health department. Not only do health departments have all the local regulations at hand and inspection forms you can use as a blueprint, but many also offer training.

Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, for example, has developed the Hospitality Education Program. HEP employees are dedicated to training foodservice professionals in how to conduct self-inspections.

Wyoming’s Department of Agriculture also trains operators in food safety, as well. Operators who take part in the “Blue Ribbon” program, the state’s voluntary HACCP program, are exempted from routine inspections, according to Chuck Higgins, manager of the consumer health services section. Instead, inspectors do a yearly verification of an operation’s HACCP procedures by checking HACCP logs, conducting informal interviews with managers and employees, and observing employees in action.

The state gives program participants public recognition as an incentive to join, including issuing press releases and letting operators use the program logo and consumer brochures to tell customers what they’re doing.

Outside consultants also can help by doing a baseline evaluation and customizing a self-inspection program to your operation. Dingbats still uses a consulting group to conduct monthly “inspections” and help with training issues. The inspections also keep managers and employees on their toes.

When you’ve identified what needs to be inspected, get input from employees on how often things need to be done. Some areas will require daily inspection, others weekly or even less often. Make sure what you’re asking people to do is practical and reasonable.

“To distribute the workload, tasks should be spread out throughout the week,” says Beezley, “and it shouldn’t be just one person doing a task.”

“If there are too many charts, and inspections are too complex to log, they won’t get done,” Grottenthaler adds.

Getting Results

Ultimately, employees are integral to the process. Since they’re responsible for making sure everything passes muster of self-inspections as well as official health department inspections, it pays to get them involved in a variety of ways.

“The key is follow-up,” says Taylor. “It does no good to have a self-inspection form that sits in a drawer.”

Employees should be trained both in food safety techniquesÑreceiving, storing, time and temperature control, food handling and personal hygieneÑand how to inspect their areas of responsibility.

Since he implemented self-inspections, Taylor has taken ServSafë and “Train-the-Trainer” courses. In turn, he has taught food safety techniques to more than 200 employees.

Employees also can provide valuable feedback. When training, divide them into teams and ask some to play the part of inspectors and others to set up “violations” that should be detected, Grottenthaler suggests. The dinner crew also can give feedback to the lunch crew, and vice versa, creating more of a sense of teamwork.

“If you let employees be part of the solution rather than having a manager dictate the rules, they’ll take ownership,” Beezley says. “People would rather work with clean, well-maintained equipment in a pleasant workspace.”

To ensure compliance with your new system, however, it makes sense to implement a system of incentives and/or disciplinary actions.

Do self-inspections work? They can’t help but raise awareness of food safety issues among employees and managers. At Dingbats, health code violations decreased immediately after implementing the self-inspection system, according to Taylor.

“If you control your own risks, you control your own destiny,” says Grottenthaler. The message is clear: Foodservice, inspect thyself.

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