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How to prepare your foodservice business for a health inspection (and sleep soundly every night!)

How to prepare your foodservice business for a health inspection (and sleep soundly every night!)

You know it’s coming. Just don’t know when.

Health inspections are an inevitable part of the job for any food service establishment.

Does that uncertainty stress you out?

100% understandable!

However, the right preparation will make sure your business meets the expectations of any health inspector and you free yourself from unnecessary stress.

In this post, we’ll walk you through the key steps to preparing your business for a health inspection, and we’ll explain how Andy, the leading digital assistant in the food service industry, can help you sleep soundly, knowing that everything is ready for that unexpected moment.


Do you get advance notice of a health inspection?

In our native Spain, there is no law requiring a food service establishment to be notified in advance of a health inspection.

Health inspections are carried out randomly to ensure food safety and protect public health.

However, there are some exceptions to this general rule.

For example, in some cases, health authorities may carry out a scheduled inspection if there is a reasonable suspicion that a restaurant is not complying with health regulations.

In general, a restaurant has no way of knowing when a health inspection will take place.

This means that you must maintain a high level of hygiene and food safety at all times.

Different countries and regions have different normatives.

It is important to be aware of the specific regulations that apply to your business in order to ensure compliance.

Some of the factors that may vary from country to country include:

  • The frequency of inspections
  • The scope of inspections
  • The criteria used to assess compliance
  • The penalties for non-compliance

It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest regulations in your area by:

  • Contacting your local health authority
  • Reading industry publications
  • Attending training courses

By taking the time to prepare for a health inspection, you can help to ensure that your business is in compliance with the regulations and that your customers are safe.

What general criteria are followed in a health inspection?

Level of hygiene of the facilities:

  • Cleaning and disinfection:The cleanliness and disinfection of all areas of the establishment are verified, including:
    • Work surfaces
    • Equipment and utensils
    • Storage facilities
    • Food handling areas
    • Restrooms
  • Pest control: Health inspectors verify that no pests such as insects or rodents are found in the premises.
  • Waste management: S/he also verifies that all waste is properly managed and disposed of.

Food handling:

  • Staff training: Health inspectors verify that all staff have the appropriate training in food hygiene and safety.
  • Correct handling practices: Inspectors verify that the staff follows the correct food handling practices such as:
    • Hand washing
    • Wearing appropriate clothing
    • Preventing cross-contamination
    • Temperature control
    • Food storage

Traceability of food products:

  • Traceability systems: inspectors will ensure that the appropriate measures and checks are put in place to control food traceability every step of the way from supplier delivery to customer serving.
  • Food labelling: inspectors verify that secondary expiry dates and other important labels are clearly and correctly displayed on the products.

Staff training:

  • Food hygiene and safety training: Inspectors will verify that staff has received training in food hygiene and safety and understands and correcly applies all processes taught.
  • Training update: inspectors will enquire about the periodicity of staff training on food safety practices.


Cómo preparar tu negocio foodservice para una inspección de sanidad


What whappens if the health inspector is not satisfied with your establishment?

Fines happen!

And potential closures!

Of course, everything depends on your country and region’s normative as well as:

  • The seriousness of the non-compliance:  The quantity of the fine will depend on the seriousness of the non-compliance.
  • Recurrence: Fines may be higher in case of recurrence.

In case of serious non-compliance, the establishment may be temporarily closed. The duration of the temporary closure will depend on the seriousness of the non-compliance.
In case of very serious non-compliance, the establishment may be permanently closed or its license may be revoked.

In addition to the sanctions above, health authorities may also:

  • Order the withdrawal of products from the market: If it is detected that a food product is not safe, health authorities may order its withdrawal from the market.
  • Initiate legal actions: In case of serious non-compliance, health authorities may initiate legal actions against the person responsible for the establishment.


Health inspections in the UK – A brief overlook

In the UK, food hygiene inspections are carried out by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The FSA has a set of food hygiene regulations that all food businesses must comply with. These regulations cover a wide range of areas, including:

  • Food safety
  • Food hygiene
  • Food labeling
  • Food traceability

The FSA conducts unannounced inspections of food businesses to check that they comply with the regulations. If a business is found to be non-compliant, the FSA can take a range of enforcement actions, including:

  • Issuing a warning letter
  • Issuing a hygiene improvement notice
  • Issuing a prohibition notice
  • Prosecuting the business

Health inspections in the US – A brief overlook

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carries out food hygiene inspections in the US. The FDA has a set of food safety regulations that all food businesses must comply with. These regulations cover a wide range of areas, including:

  • Food safety
  • Food hygiene
  • Food labeling
  • Food traceability

The FDA carries out unannounced inspections of food businesses to check that they are complying with the regulations. If a business is found to be non-compliant, the FDA can take a range of enforcement actions, including:

  • Issuing a warning letter
  • Issuing a notice of violation
  • Issuing a detainer
  • Seizing the product
  • Prosecuting the business


How do you prepare your business for a health inspection?

Health inspections are stressful, but they are important.
They help us to guarantee the food safety of our businesses and to protect public health.
Although they may seem like an intimidating process, with the right preparation you can turn them into an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to quality and excellence.


Prepare your documentation

  • Gather and organise all the necessary documentation, such as operating permits, food handling licences, cleaning and disinfection records, product traceability, etc.
  • Make sure that all documents are up-to-date and easily accessible to the inspector.
  • 💥Digitise your documents and registers with Andy: Securely store all your documents in the cloud and access them from any device. Andy helps you to always have your documentation at hand and up-to-date.


Adequately train your teams

  • Provide regular training to your staff on food hygiene and safety standards.
  • Make sure that all employees understand their responsibilities in terms of food safety.
  • 💥Use Andy for staff training: Offer your staff online courses and training materials specific to the foodservice sector and file them securely and ultra-organised in Andy to keep your team always up-to-date on food safety.


Cleaning and hygiene

  • Implement a comprehensive cleaning and hygiene plan for all areas of your business.
  • Carry out regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities, equipment and utensils.
  • 💥Monitor cleaning processes with Andy: Use Andy App to carry out internal audits and record cleaning and disinfection tasks.


Pest control

  • Implement a pest control program to prevent the entry and proliferation of pests in your business.
  • Carry out regular inspections to detect any signs of pests.
  • 💥Use Andy to record all your pest control activities.


On Inspection Day

Receiving the health inspector

  • Greet the inspector cordially and professionally.
  • Be cooperative and willing to answer their questions.
  • Use Andy for inspection management: Share the documentation prepared previously with Andy: tasks, records, audits, action plans, preventive maintenance, incidents, etc. The inspector will be infinitely grateful!


Answering the health inspector’s questions

  • Answer the inspector’s questions honestly and accurately.
  • Provide the inspector with all the documentation they request.
  • 💥Use Andy to have the information at hand: Access your records, reports and documents from the Andy app. Andy helps you to answer the inspector’s questions with confidence.


  • If any deficiencies are detected, implement corrective measures immediately.
  • Document the corrective measures taken and send them to the inspector.
  • Use Andy for follow-up: Record corrective measures and monitor their compliance. Andy helps you to ensure that deficiencies are resolved efficiently.



Andy – the health inspectors’ preferred digital assistant

Andy is the preferred digital assistant of health inspectors, as well as the preferred digital assistant of tens of thousands of teams that pass their health inspections with flying colours, without anxiety, and in the blink of an eye.

And that’s because Andy keeps you continuously prepared for the arrival of the feared health inspector.

The management of your HACCP, digital labelling, audits, incidents, etc. is perfectly organised and documented by Andy.

It doesn’t matter whether you have five restaurants or a thousand.

Andy centralises all processes and records, so that on the day of the inspection you can simply say: yes! All the details are stored in Andy!


How can Andy help you be ready for an unexpected health inspection


But, in addition, when Andy customers ask us for help before a looming health inspection, our Food Safety team is eager to assist them in ensuring everything is in order:

    • Library: We verify that their templates are correctly and efficiently configured in Andy. This allows them to add them to the annex of their HACCP plan.
    • Incidents: We review the open incidents so that they can be corrected, highlighting those that are repeated so that the problem can be solved once and for all.
    • Records: We verify that all records are closed and sealed with the signature of the person in charge.
    • Tasks: We review the percentage of task completion and indicate the days on which tasks have not been 100% fulfilled and there is no justification.
    • User: If the customer requests it, we create an “Inspector” user so that they can access and view the tasks in AndyApp and/or the Control Panel.
    • Export records: We help customers download the records completed during the period requested by the Health Authority.


Can you imagine the stress you could rid yourself off with Andy and its Food Safety team behind you?

Stop imagining a world where unexpected health inspections don’t give you a heart attack, and try Andy today!



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