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gah... i hate health inspectors!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
so i had 1 bag of rocket that had fallen behind something whos date was up the day before... it would have been found and checked and removed the day after anyway...

didnt deserve to lose 10% for that... no fair!

and i swear if the **** potwasher doesnt clean the bits hes been told to when i know theres an inspection likely and i lose another 3% for the complete state the underside of the potwash was in hes gonna be in some serious trouble.... i spent 30 minutes with some fairly concentrated D2 and it came off!


and my KM was really impressed when we had the guy in 'cause i was left alone in the kitchen and i just got on with it and plated up good food all afternoon, held the fort for 3 hours so he could have a break before night service (its all day restaurant) only had 1 comment that some 12oz sirloins were medium well not medium... "but they were still pretty good" ... so im ok with that

any of you had any health inspections recently? "the stories i could tell" well heres your chance... vent a little
post #2 of 27
We lost points at a California-style pizza place I worked at once for the dumpster being dirty. Specifically, it was grease from chicken from the Carribean rotisserie place next door, not from us. This was explained to the inspector, but he still took points off of our rating.
Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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Anulos qui animum ostendunt omnes gestemus!
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post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
you use the dumpster... you share responsibility, even if its telling the place next door to clean his freaking bin lol.
post #4 of 27
Remember once in Singapore, nice kitchen, clean and up to snuff. H.I gave me holy grief because I didn't have magnetic knife holders. Funny thing was, half a block away was a wet market / hawker center, which was basically Soddom and Gomorraha: Sides of Mutton hanging up directly next to 100 watt lightbulbs, raw pork unrefrigerated, and a meat grinder for customers's wishes lying under the hot sun, etc, etc. Couldn't look at the the H.I with a straight face, but just let it slide.

Now, here in Vancouver, before we took over an existing place, I made it part of the offer to have a H. Inspection, because I knew the guy wouldn't pass, and I could have some negotiating room: Undersized grease trap, non-existant handsinks, a low temp dishwasher with rust stains and oozing pure bleach at every crevice, naked lighting fixtures, paint peeling off the ceiling, prep table made up from angle iron and particle board, badly warped and badly stained with ?-juices, the only refrigeration was a 40 yr Kelvinator 3 door unit, hood never inspected or cleaned, and fire suppression last inspected in the early '80's. The health inspector passed him...
Before we could get permits for opening we had to have an inspection, and I was ready: Brand new Hobart hight temp d/w, all new refrigeration, all new shelving with castors, code-approved ceiling panels and code approved lighting fixtures, separate mop room with lockable door and shelves for cleaning stuff, a 30 page comprehensvie haccp guideline, new grout on the wall tiles and floor tiles, etc. etc.. I didn't pass. My d/w was one degree off on the final rinse. I compared signatures from the last guy's inpection and mine, the same H. I....
Called in the Hobart boys and got the D/w up to snuff (hadn't fully paid for it yet!), and called back the H. Dept. Another inspector came, looked around for 30 seconds, whipped out the paperwork and signed me off.

What ever ....
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #5 of 27
I was inspected 2 weeks ago. I had just come down with the cold I haven't had for 5 years- my nose was runny and red, myeyes watering, sneezing. I had called in a replacement and was just about to go home when he pulled in. I thought that looking like Typhoid Mary was really going to cost me, and made sure he saw me washing my hands at least 12 times while he was there. My score dropped from the last 2 inspections though. I went from a 99% to a 96%.
post #6 of 27
Just part of the business. Wer never clean for inspection. I pay them 325. to inspect me.
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #7 of 27
You're kidding? Does anyone else have to pay for inspection? You're in a city, aren't you? My inspection is state. I wonder if that makes a difference.

I offered a USDA inspector a cup of coffee and he said, "Oh no, ma'am. I'm not allowed to accept anything for free." I said, "My coffee's good, but it's not bribe good." He didn't laugh.
post #8 of 27
Dang I had one inspector give me criticals for the bar violation.

Another dinged me for four criticals because I had incorrect sanitizing solution in the pantry, not being used but being cleaned up, the bakery, once again being cleaned up, and the dishroom.

So next time, I tossed all those the next time she came around and received no violations for incorrect concentration of sanitizing solution.
post #9 of 27
Pan -- re the $325 -- were you talking about having a private firm inspect and give you a full report on what you had to fix for the govt inspector? Or does the city charge you for the privilege? Yikes! I have an acquaintance who runs a company like that here in NYC, and Dufour used to use one, too. Very helpful, actually, and worth the money since the fines could be much more for what seems inconsequential to us.

When I was doing pastry, one of the items I made was a green apple sorbet. Had to add ascorbic acid to the juice so that it wouldn't brown, so I kept a bottle of Vitamin C tablet in my reach-in. You guessed it: we got written up because I had "personal" stuff in the reach-in. No way they would listen to the explanation.

But having been through the NYC sanitation certification course, I have to say that while inspections are a pain to go through, and the inspectors sometimes seem to pick on ridiculous things, as a consumer I'm happy that places are inspected so carefully.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #10 of 27
I once saw a restaurant almost get shut down because every single item was significantly over proper temperature - service line coolers, walk-in, you name it - until someone checked and realized the inspector's thermometer was terribly mis-calibrated.
post #11 of 27
Our city food service permit costs me 325. a yr. This includes gauranteed 2 inspections a yr. Most of the time it is usually every 2-4 mnths.There must be a certified food service manager dressed and working when the busines is open or in production. Each FSM certificate is valid for 3 yrs. 16 hr. class for the first time and 8 hrs. recert. on the 3rd yrs. Most small companies just certify all.
If you shoud get a criticle violation 4 pts.(temps, dating, etc.) 2 months in a row, every employee (FOH & BOH) is required to take the FSM course.
The scores are posted online and are pretty popular
http://66.97.146.46/FoodInspection/S...oresAction.cfm
This is the county regulations.
The State certificate requires more training and is more involved in Production/manufacturing. Weights and measures, ingredients labels, etc. also requirements to ship across State lines.
The local is a little tough, but becomes the norm once you conform.:lol:
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #12 of 27
I once worked for a guy who called in the health inspector to set some things up properly. The health department was shocked but delighted at the notion of working together. Brilliant strategy, really.
post #13 of 27
Where hygiene and cleanliness are concerned, there is no compromise with the health inspectors there. It is also normal for them to point out minor things which in their opinion might lead to health and safety problems. As for meat being unrefrigerated, for several years now it is complulsory to keep all meats in a refrigerated display.
post #14 of 27
Yeah, I know...Think it became mandatory in 2000 for all pork to be refrigerated in S'pore. That's quite a statement when you think about it..... Of course, fresh egg noodles and other products are still being transported in bulk plastic bags in unrefrigerated trucks, fresh produce being transported in open trucks.

With health inspectors, they operate on odds. A 60 seat restaurant has the odds or possibility of 60 poisonings, a wet market has the possibility of over 2 or 3 thousand poisonings, and could wreak some serious damage on the local economy.

Still remember the fiasco at the Westin Hotel in S'pore about 15 years ago? Chinese N.Y, bad food posioning due to very poor handling of baby pigs. H. Dept found out the "supplier" was slaughtering and dressing carcasses in a bathroom. Westin Hotel, with kitchens immaculate, gets shut down and fined heavily, "supplier" who does slaughtering in his bathroom walks off with a $100 fine.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #15 of 27
foodpump,

Since you are so familiar with the Singapore scene overall, you should be aware also that the country does not take its international image with respect to anything too lightly. The fact that none of the mega poisoning cases you feared has materialized notwithstanding the fact that Singapore is a tropical country is indicative that the health authorities might be doing something right after all. Given that you had a similar bad experience with health inspectors in Vancouver, could it be that you were merely born under an unlucky star when it comes to food inspections? I really sympathize with you. Should this be the real cause of your distress, a career change might not be too far-fetched. How about switching to becoming a health inspector instead?
post #16 of 27
Ah, firiki03, there is good and bad everywhere. My experiences weren' t necessarily negative, but just observations. I have had positive dealings with h. inspectors, in S'pore, Vancouver, and Europe too, and I've come to realize that there is no general standard, but rather each inspector acting of his own judgement. Hence my observation of the Vancouver H. I., where one inspector can pass a dump, but not a re-made kitchen, and another can pass the re-made kitchen that the first H.I. didn't pass.

I don't neccesarily hate them, nor do I love them, nor do I want to become one. But then, this thread started off for everyone to tell about their experiences about dealing with them, which I have.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #17 of 27
I think one of the biggest problems people have with local health jurisdictions is that there is no exact translation of what the FDA puts out as guidlines.
They are not really clear and what we end up with is different interpretations of what they are giving us. Therefore we have conflicting versions. Right now, my H.I. has me putting our sanitizer buckets on the floor!!! She interpreted from thier research that these containers can contain toxic doses of bleach( operator error) and should not be near food preperation areas. Now the next inspector might give me a criticle for having those buckets on the floor. So we must remain flexible and open minded, which a lot of people can't and therefor have a problem.
I have often thought of becoming an inspector for my retired days, I would really like to develop some sort of community neighbor type of go-between for those having problems with health inspections. I has to be an incredibly hard job to enter establishments with the goal of teaching and having the operators have this great distast for you.
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #18 of 27
I'd always had an exceptional relationship with all the Health Inspectors I'd ever worked with. Then again I also took the Illinois Board of Health exam back in school so... (And this wasn't the "little" seminar you go thru for Sani-Safe. It was a full blown, 2 semester course. Definitely gave me a much different perspective about the "Big Picture".;)

Plus would you really want to eat at the place where the Health Department let things slide or didn't even bother. Develope that relationship with the inspector and make it work to your advantage. And for pete's sake if it's gonna be wrong whenever they visit it sure is heck is gonna be wrong when they're not around. Takes more energy and toll on your conscience to ignore something than it does to just take care of it or do it right.
post #19 of 27
We also have to pay for our permit, so in effect we pay for our own inspections. We are also inspected twice a year. After all this time we have a great realationship with our local sanitarian. Why? We listen to what they want us to do and do it. We haven't had a major violation in all of our years and now its usually maybe a point off 100.
They aren't out to do anything but to keep restaurants safe, imho.
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #20 of 27
This was in the paper today and it was on topic.

http://www.sltrib.com/business/ci_5066267

Basically, all the outdoor food carts have been shutdown by the health department. It hasn't been above freezing in town for about 2 weeks now and the waterlines the carts have for the vendor to wash up were frozen.

These taco carts are quite popular and they do provide a pretty tasty taco. There have been some law suits over where they set up as they vie for a particularly busy area by a Sears store. The vendor permits were vague on the location as it wasn't perceived as a hot buisiness spot unlike the street vendors more towards the primary pedestrian areas.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #21 of 27
I always found that health inspectors where easier to deal with if you didn't treat them like a pariah. They have a job too do, and if you don't act like they are Satan's spawn they'll be fair with you.

That said, I do not think that they really do much to improve the quality of hygiene in the food service world. If it is a priority of a restaurant to maintain a clean establishment then they will, if it is not they will not.
post #22 of 27

this makes interesting reading indeed

since I work in Russia.
But I also have worked all over the world and I found out it definitely pays to have a good relationship with ANY inspector right from the beginning.(I mostly opened restaurants from '0').And it should be without a bribe.
While in South Africa we also used the services of a commercial company for health inspections. And this was no bribe or 'getting around' these guys were tougher than the real inspectors.They would come in at odd times.Even during a 1000 seat dinner banquet.Took samples of everything including swabs of hands / tools and the floor.
In Russia things are a little bit different now.
here you are supposed to have different cutting boards for different food items. colored boards and knifes with colored ahndles are only slowly ( the alst 5-6 years) appaeraing in restaurants (hotels are different, they are run mostly by international corporations and have their,high, company standard)
you are supposed to wash eggs in three different basins (once with 1% chlorine, than with food grade soda solution and finally rinse with fresh water)
theoretically you have different rooms /sections for prep of fish meat and veg.fines if caught NOT wearing headgear.
best desinfectant(and this is NO joke) at the end of the shift, wipe down every surface with cheap vodka! 40% alkohol will kill any germ!
and god forbid, if something should happen (food poisoning). they close the place and throw away the key...
good food, one of the few pleasures left to mankind...
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good food, one of the few pleasures left to mankind...
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post #23 of 27

conslutants....

So i get my QPro audit 2 weeks ago...95% pass only thing missing was one days food samples...we run a pretty clean kitchen having just been awarded HACCP certification.the food sample must have been accidently trown away during our weekly stock take and freezer clean. Then last week our Haccp consultant rocks up and fails me for some of the most stupid things i have ever heard...like the upperstory deck outside must be barbwired to prevent rodents from climbing up the glossy painted two inch thick poles that suspend it, and that if my vacum packer broke down during christmas season and the factories where not open i should have rented a new machine instead of cling wrapping my products...the dude rocks up every 3 months and creates problems to solve just so that he can be back in another 3 months to get paid by the hour to shaft me again...health inspectors i can handle but these super spiff conslutants just rub me the wrong way... in kitchen confidential i remember bourdain saying something alongs the lines of consultants feed off dying resturants to suck the owners dry before they become bankrupt. lol its my time to leave then i guess.
post #24 of 27

please enlighten me: food samples

i have worked in the states some 30 years ago and suppose things have changed since them,
Could you point me to any site (if there is any) to read up what is required in a kitchen concerning all these things we were discussing now ( if it does not end up to be the size of a bible..)
and what do oyu mean food samples. do you have to keep one plate of each menu item you serve ? (every day?) seems to me you need your own refridgerator for that?
Wast compressor broken down? Taht yo yo should for sure underastand if no SERVICE is working for sure no SALES is working either? or is he just trying to show who is in charge? nice people indeed....
good food, one of the few pleasures left to mankind...
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good food, one of the few pleasures left to mankind...
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post #25 of 27
Well for us we are required to retain minimum 100gr sample of all the food stuffs we produced in our kitchen daily...not every single plate to be exact but for example...if i where to make a roast lamb special, i would be required to bag and tag 100gr of it....if i was making some roasted potatoes to go with that lamb....bag and tag again..by the end of the day im sitting with about 4-5 kilos of food sample which not only eats into my food cost but takes up a lot of space in my freezer, having to keep 7 days worth of stock that are all tracable....
post #26 of 27
As someone who has worked in the Health Department, let me just add another perspective.

Potatos stored on the floor in the employee's restroom.

Drippings from thawing chicken saturating the shredded cabbage for slaw.

Cross contaminations.

Food borne illness sickening patrons - - in fact, not just sickening, but killing patrons. It's been in the papers, you know it can and does happen.

Although you all, I'm sure, do your best to keep your facilities clean and admitting that there are some fanatic (??) inspectors, it takes only one stupid employee or situation to create a catastrophe.

Poor standards = poor reputations = loss of patrons = closed restaurants.

Hats off to those of you who do a good job - - both chefs and inspectors.
post #27 of 27

Chefs and Inspectors

There is no doubt that inspectors and Inspections are neccesary, because also in kitchens are not always Chefs but '%$#@' working. And while i am sure Inspectors are not making life ahrd for us on purpose, sometimes some common sense is needed.BUT and i agree fully with them,if there IS a chance that something will go wrong, they should do what they have to do and if it means to close a place,well so be it.This is the same in Russia as well and that's how it is supposed to be.
The safety of our guests (and of course also staff and our fellow collegues) is of foremost importance and there is no excuse for dirt and grease in ANY kitchen.Water, soap and 'ellbow grease' are after all basics and available all year round...
good food, one of the few pleasures left to mankind...
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good food, one of the few pleasures left to mankind...
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