What happened during your Heath Department inspection?

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Hungry Dog
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2012/11/01 12:25:23 (permalink)

What happened during your Heath Department inspection?

Hiya Guys,
      I am new to hot dog carts and the food business in general. I have never witnessed a Helth Dept inspection. What are they going to target on my cart? Not being a stick and morter building are they going to be sticklers??  I am sure cleanlyness with be a top priority as well as food temps. What else are they going to look at? I know most states are different,  but what should I expect?
 
  Any one have any problems they want to share?
#1

11 Replies Related Threads

    BpCBlake
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    Re:What happened during your Heath Department inspection? 2012/11/01 12:33:18 (permalink)
    every state is different.
    some want 3 proper sinks and a hand washing sink. some dont care.
    some will let you cook foods on them. some will only let you sell precooked foods. some will let you have a grill and griddle and some wont. some will even let you have a deep fryer. and some wont.  this is why most manufactors give you pictures and schmatics before you buy a cart. if you get the wrong cart you will have a expensive bird feeder.
     
    #2
    jcheese
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    Re:What happened during your Heath Department inspection? 2012/11/01 18:40:30 (permalink)
    I would say if you followed all the rules, it is what you think. Cleanliness and proper temps. Over do it. Keep hand sanitizer, hand wash and gloves handy and visible. Have your thermometers out and visible. Keep every thing clean and wiped down. Keep extra tongs, etc. in case you drop one.
    Ran into my inspector at an event. He said he watched me from afar at another venue. Didn't make an inspection report either time.
    First impressions go a long way. If you look good and educated about food safety they probably won't hound you. Learn some fancy words like "Listeria" and maybe post a sign about food allergies.
    If they do find a violation, thank them and advise how you'll correct it.
    Let us know how you do.
    #3
    Hungry Dog
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    Re:What happened during your Heath Department inspection? 2012/11/05 09:02:37 (permalink)
    I was told already to expect him to sit somewhere and watch me for a bit before he comes to inspect. Any Horror stories out there?? C-mon it'll be a good thread. Like the Idea about posting a warning sign.
     
    How often are they going to inspect me?
    #4
    RJT
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    Re:What happened during your Heath Department inspection? 2012/11/05 10:15:28 (permalink)
    I agree 100%!! Dont worry so much about "what they are going to target" but what you need to be doing to do everything right. Educate yourself what is right and wrong in your specific area and try and make sure you are in 100% compliance at all times. Somethings you are asking we can not provide because you area may be different than ours. Such as "how often do they inspect me?" I am inspected twice a year but you may be different. If they get a call or complaint they can inspect as they see fit.
     
    Study up on what is expected and try and be 100% all the time and you will have nothing to worry about. NEVER compromise and you will be fine.
     
    jcheese

    I would say if you followed all the rules, it is what you think. Cleanliness and proper temps. Over do it. Keep hand sanitizer, hand wash and gloves handy and visible. Have your thermometers out and visible. Keep every thing clean and wiped down. Keep extra tongs, etc. in case you drop one.
    Ran into my inspector at an event. He said he watched me from afar at another venue. Didn't make an inspection report either time.
    First impressions go a long way. If you look good and educated about food safety they probably won't hound you. Learn some fancy words like "Listeria" and maybe post a sign about food allergies.
    If they do find a violation, thank them and advise how you'll correct it.
    Let us know how you do.


    #5
    chefbuba
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    Re:What happened during your Heath Department inspection? 2012/11/05 10:28:44 (permalink)
    Hot water, paper towels, soap, temps.
    #6
    Hungry Dog
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    Re:What happened during your Heath Department inspection? 2012/11/05 15:05:38 (permalink)
    Hiya Guys,
        Just got back from the Heath Dept. I gave him a schmatic of my cart, with a griddle penciled in on the drawing. A t first he didn't even want me to grill onions on my griddle. He finaly said OK. Then I hit him up with Coca-cola onions. Same thing except with a can of Coke, course it would have to be in a pan cause of the liquid. He finally said OK to that too, reluctantly.
        I souldn't have pushed my luck, He wouldn't let me make Sabretts style onion sauce though from a reciepe, on the cart, So I have to buy that premade. No biggie I guess, Sams Club sells it, although not in any local stores around here but  I can get it on-line. Other than that he said everything was OK to send to the printer.
    #7
    RJT
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    Re:What happened during your Heath Department inspection? 2012/11/05 16:10:40 (permalink)
    Congrats!! 
     
    Do what I do and pre make my liquid for my onions in red sauce and then just grill up the onions on the carts add the liquid portion and make it to order or make a batch that way on the cart. I make mine using a ketchup base so no real worries with temps and such but I do keep mine in the cold section like all my condiments.
    #8
    Lonestar Dogs
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    Re:What happened during your Heath Department inspection? 2012/11/08 13:12:05 (permalink)
    Complete Newbie here but...
     
    Just got my cart inspected Tuesday. I was nervous. I'd never been through the process. But it went so easy and so well. The cart has both a griddle and a grill attached and they were completely fine with the thought of using the griddle for sauteeing onions. Within about 15 minutes the inspection was over and we were doing final paperwork then I was out the door. As mentioned previously, they want to make sure you have hand soap, paper towels, sanitizer or bleach water, testing strips but overall a very simple process.
    ~Lonestar
    #9
    bartl
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    Re:What happened during your Heath Department inspection? 2012/11/09 11:40:55 (permalink)
    New York's byzantine bureaucracy, where fines are more for revenue than health and safety, and competing, overlapping offices are run by people who are afraid that if they don't bring in a lot of revenue, they will be eliminated, creates special problems. If the Health Department requires a standard, and your business exceeds that standard while creating a safer environment, you will get downgraded and fined. And often, there are contradictory regulations, where you are required to do things that you are forbidden to do (my favorite was the two regulations that required liquor stores to have doors no greater than 3 feet wide and no less than 6 feet wide). At one of my clients, an inspector came in about a month ago, and was almost furious to find out that the client was exempted from the rules that they were ready to fine them on (the security cameras were on, so that probably helped).

    Oddly enough, the City Council has been regularly blocking or placing deal-killing regulations on large chains trying to get into the city under the principle of "protecting small business", while small businesses are getting fined out of existence.
     
    Bart
    #10
    jcheese
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    Re:What happened during your Heath Department inspection? 2012/11/09 17:14:53 (permalink)
     
     
     
     
    In VA they lowered the cost of a Health Permit from $285 a year to $40.
    My inspector said it cost his district over a million bucks in revenue.
    Me thinks it is spreading inspectors thinly. So I think they leave guys alone that have impressed them as compliant and concentrate on those who have had critical violations in the past.
    I've had inspectors drop by my cart at events and say hello. Don't bother to "officially inspect" but tell me " I gotta go, got work to do"
    So, the bottom line is......First Impressions.
     
     
     
     
    in
    #11
    chefbuba
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    Re:What happened during your Heath Department inspection? 2012/11/09 18:07:34 (permalink)
    I have not seen my inspector in 11 months, upon initial inspection my trailer was as clean as the day it was new, she was impressed with it. Just got my renewal by mail.
    The gas station that I'm parked at also has a deli and runs a tight ship. They get inspected once a year. The last time the inspector was there, she didn't even bother with me.
    My fee is $150, previous county was over $500
    post edited by chefbuba - 2012/11/09 18:09:20
    #12
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