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Scheduled Restaurant Inspections

Olmsted County, MN continues to lead the way

This email, submitted to Handwashing For Life by Olmsted County’s environmental health manager, Mike Melius, serves as a more meaningful update on Scheduled Inspections than anyone at Handwashing For Life Institute could offer.

We have experienced that scheduled assessments (inspections) serve an important purpose in “Establishing an Open Dialogue with the Person In Charge”.  This open dialogue opportunity is a key section in FDA’s “Managing Food Safety: A Regulator’s Manual For Applying HACCP Principles to Risk-based Retail and Food Service Inspections and Evaluating Voluntary Food Safety Management Systems” – beginning at the bottom of page 8, the manual clearly lays out why an open dialogue is “important”. Here is the link to the document:  
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/GuidanceRegulation/UCM078159.pdf

We have experienced that open dialogue is dramatically enhanced when the owner, manager, and/or PIC is present and has committed some time to have the discussion.  They are extremely busy people, so we choose not to leave to chance our ability to have a deliberate, meaningful, and open discussion with the PIC.  This is especially important around busy service times.  We expect the PIC prepares mentally for the discussion, and yes, we also see them prepare the establishment.  However, this creates an environment that causes food safety system risks and conditions to stand out and sets up a focused discussion on Long Term Risk Control to address improvements to systems, and correction of conditions.  Finally, we are still able to conduct unannounced inspections that provide a view of the routine operation of the establishment.  This approach is consistent with FDA’s recommendation of multiple inspections per year.

Additional background is available on these website pages: http://handwashingforlife.com/blog/jim-mann/earned-scheduled-inspections and http://handwashingforlife.com/blog/mike-mann/operator-focused-inspections

Jim Mann, founder of the Handwashing For Life Institute, will seek to have this topic formally discussed at the 2016 CFP in Boise, Idaho.

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