Acing Inspections

FoodService Director - Free Advice - Sarah JohnsonSarah Johnson, school nutrition director for Jackson (Tenn.) schools, knows how to pass a health inspection. Johnson gives tips on how other operators can find similar success.

FoodService Director - Free Advice - Sarah JohnsonWhile other schools flounder during health inspections, Jackson, TN,  schools always ace them because school nutrition director Susan Johnson has them do thorough self-inspections weekly. Here is Johnson on self-monitoring.

“Don’t rely on state or local health inspections to make sure your operation is safe. Equipment can malfunction, and regulations can change at any time. Our managers fill out a weekly four-page self-inspection sheet to ensure that our food is always safe.

The sheet we use was adapted from one from The National Food Service Management Institute. We used to use a checklist that we made ourselves, but professional ones are more comprehensive. It’s also important to have a clear procedure for [taking] corrective action.

Develop a strong relationship with your local health department. Regulations change, especially when it comes to holding temperatures.  The inspection sheet should constantly be updated.

Emphasize the importance of food safety by rewarding employees. When one of our schools scores 90 or above on their yearly inspection, we present them with certificates during a managers’ meeting. Average [national] scores are between 70 and 80, and with the use of our self-inspection sheet, all of our schools exceed that.”



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