Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) will do unannounced assessments on food premises!

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Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) will do unannounced assessments on food premises!

Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) will do unannounced assessments on food premises!

All premises, facilities and equipment used in connection with the handling, preparation, storage and serving of foodstuffs on the premises must be in compliance with the Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises and the Transport of Food, R962 of November 2012 as published in terms of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectant Act, Act 54 of 1972

A Certificate of Acceptability (CoA) must be in place.

A risk assessment will be done with specific focus on the following areas:-
1. Food handling and preparation activities
2. Hygiene practices
3. Competency of staff
4. Water and sanitation practices
5. Pest control methods
6. Environmental toxins on the premises

Critical Items

Critical items are those that are directly related to foodborne illnesses.

  • Proper hand washing stations and techniques (bacteriological hand soap, hand sanitisers, paper towels and dust-bins)
  • Make sure food is coming from an approved source
  • Ensure cooked foods are rapidly chilled in appropriate amount of time
  • Check to make sure commercial dishwashers have the correct sanitizer concentration
  • Assure there has been no cross-contamination between raw and cooked or ready to serve products (Storage)

Non-Critical Items

Non-critical items are those that are not directly related to foodborne illnesses, but can become serious problems if not corrected. These are items are usually denoted as “blue” items on an inspection sheet.

  • Labeled food storage containers (Expiry dates, FIFO = First in First out)
  • Current operator permit
  • Properly calibrated thermometers
  • Floors, walls and ceilings properly cleaned
  • Employee changing or break area is separate from kitchen

Potentially Hazardous Foods

Don’t play chicken with your chicken.

  • Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) pays extra attention to potentially hazardous foods.
  • These foods require precise time and temperature maintenance to prevent bacterial grown and food related illnesses.
  • The Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) will meticulously check cooking, holding and storage temperatures of all your meat, poultry, seafood, and ready-made food products for safe temperatures.
  • They will also ask to see your records to ensure you are doing the same.

Manager and Staff Knowledge

  • Restaurant owners are required to know their local health by-laws in order to operate a commercial food establishment.
  • Management and staff must have up-to-date training on food safety practices, and employees must demonstrate knowledge of safe food handling and preparation.
  • Records to prove the aforementioned must be kept.
  • The Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) will ask questions to test this knowledge.

Employee Health

  • An employee with cold or flu may not handle foodstuffs.
  • When employees are sick, it’s crucial you don’t let them handle and prepare food.
  • Send them home, or put them on a task where they are not handling food or utensils.
  • Person to person contact is a leading cause of foodborne illness, and sick employees can easily transfer their germs to the customers, no matter how cautious they are.
  • If a food borne outbreak is linked to a sick employee, the Local Health Department has the authority to check the worker’s medical records and take samples in an effort to pinpoint an exact cause.

Note: This article is a generalization of the Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) hygiene and health assessment process. Please reference your local Food By-Laws or Health Department for specific governing rules and procedures.

Written by: Elisma Malherbe (Pinnacle Protection Enterprises) and Frik Human (H&S Chemicals)