The same can be said of equipment. If equipment is small enough to be washed in the sink, soap and hot water will be adequate to clean, as well as a disinfectant solution, in some states. Most states require a 3-compartment sink. Each compartment has its own function: one compartment for washing, one for rinsing, and one for sanitizing. When dishes are done, as they should be periodically throughout the day in slower periods, they must be allowed to air dry. In most cases, hand drying dishes is not acceptable. If equipment is not big enough to fit in the sink, such as a meat slicer, it must be sanitized. Many companies provide cleaning instructions with their equipment. If you are unsure of how often you are to sanitize your equipment that is too big for the sink, ask your inspector. Most of the time, he or she will be more than willing to answer your questions. Floors can be sanitized with a solution of bleach and water, much like your surfaces.

Employee cleanliness is a very important issue of overall cleanliness. Personal hygiene must be taken very seriously by your employees and you must make certain of this. If this becomes a problem with any of your employees, see to it that the problem is quickly nipped in the bud. Pull the employee aside, away from all other employees and calmly tell him or her about the problem. If the problem is not fixed within a reasonable time frame, take action. You must protect your business at all costs. Hurt feelings is not an issue you should worry about. Your business is the number one priority, and an employee that does not keep him or herself, or your equipment clean is a liability and puts your business in danger. As long as you put cleanliness and following the rules set forth by your state as a priority, you will likely have no problem with your health inspector.

Another way to please the inspector is to know what to expect when he or she comes to inspect. This will, of course, be difficult the first time, but talk to other restaurant and MFDV business owners in your area. Do your homework about the local inspector and learn what he or she likes and dislikes. Keeping foods at proper holding temperatures and storing foods and cleaning supplies in the right places will make your inspector take notice. Many inspectors will be lenient the first time or two, but beware. Do your best at all times to have all your affairs in order when he or she inspects, especially for the first inspection. Pay close attention to everything the inspector says. Many are very helpful and wish you nothing but success. They will give you pointers and let you know things that don’t exactly comply with health codes. If the inspector tells you to make sure the mop is properly stowed, pay careful attention to that aspect the next time, as having to tell you twice is not something you want an inspector to have to do.

Also, a great way to make sure you comply with all health codes in your area is to be aware of the frequency and regularity with which your health inspector comes. Many times they will let you know approximately how many times and in what week or month they will be visiting for their regular visits. Pay close attention! Knowing around when your inspector will come can help you be more prepared. Also, there are inspections some health inspectors are required to do that are “surprise” inspections. The best way to prepare for an inspection like this is to make sure you and your employees are consistently following the operations and cleaning procedures. The only way to make sure you are one hundred percent ready for the “surprise” inspections is to work every day like there is an inspector scheduled. This will allow you to easily get yourself together and avoid scrambling when the inspector does show up unannounced.

In order to be a success with your health inspector and with your customers, just remember to keep cleanliness and health a priority. Putting this above all else will drastically reduce your chances of making someone ill and drastically improve your chances of making your health inspector enjoy coming to inspect your business because he or she doesn’t have to write any citations.