We’re thrilled to announce that following an EHO inspection of our kitchen at home, we were awarded 5 stars.
Whether it’s a large restaurant or a small cupcake business run from home, an EHO inspection needs to be made. The same rules apply. Potential risks to customers are the same. Environmental health officers will want to see the same standard of food safety management in large and small establishments.
So how did we prepare for this?
To be truthful, we didn’t do much. Customer safety is always of paramount importance to us and we are meticulous at every stage of food preparation.
But we wanted 5 stars, not 4, so before our EHO inspection we …….
1. Checked the condition of our equipment
(Please bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliates and if you go through them to make a purchase I will make a commission).
Our chopping boards were beginning to show signs of wear, so we replaced them.
We considered buying the purple chopping board for the preparation of “free from” foods,
but decided against it. When we prepare foods for a customer that suffers with a food allergy, we ensure that the preparation area, equipment and utensils have been thoroughly cleaned beforehand. The environmental health officer was happy with this.
Cooking utensils are replaced as and when required. My pastry brush had lost quite a few bristles so I replaced it with this one –
My palette knife had a loose handle, so I replaced it with this –
My oven cloth had a few burn marks, so I replaced it with this one.
Upon checking my first aid box for the kitchen I noticed that my blue plasters had lost their stickiness. I’d had them for so long! Anyway, I replaced them very cheaply with these.
I also decided to purchase some disposable aprons.
My final purchase was this.
When I originally refurbished my kitchen I had an insectocutor but it only worked at night!! Although I ensure food is always covered while it is cooling, I bought this fly squat prior to my EHO inspection.
In fact, the EHO didn’t discuss the issue of flies. He did, however, ask about our pest control safeguards.
2. Got our paperwork in order before the EHO Inspection
The EHO inspection centred around our Food Management System, so we made sure every “i” was dotted and every “t” was crossed.
How did we do this?
We simply followed the guidance ‘Safer food, better business for caterers’ from the Food Standards Agency.
We also had ready all our catering related certificates and liability insurance certificate.
3. We cleaned prior to the EHO Inspection!!!
Our kitchen is cleaned on a daily basis at least, but I must confess that prior to the EHO inspection we carried out a deep clean! We donned our disposable aprons and cleaned everywhere. You name it – we cleaned it!
Did we need to do so much cleaning?
I don’t know – but it made us feel confident during the EHO inspection. In fact, the environmental health officer only closely inspected the fridge, freezer and larder.
What we learnt from the EHO Inspection
- There is nothing to fear from an EHO inspection. In fact, we took the opportunity to ask the environmental health officer questions and he was happy to answer them.
- One of our recipes includes a dip that involves mixing together mayonnaise and curry powder. The EHO advised us to cook the curry powder before mixing as there is a risk, albeit slight, of salmonella from dried spices. We were unaware of this. On 2nd July 2019 P & B Foods had to recall Heera Chilli Powder Extra Hot because of the presence of salmonella.
- We use Dettol Surface Cleanser to clean our work surfaces. The EHO advised us to check the instructions on surface cleansers. Some (not Dettol!) need to be sprayed on the work surfaces and left for a specified period of time.
- It is essential to have a separate wash hand basin for washing hands. Fortunately we have a separate one.
The EHO is not trying to trick you or catch you out. He/she simply wants to make sure that your home kitchen is fit for purpose. Your working practices and knowledge must ensure you prepare food that is safe to eat.
What happens next?
Once the EHO inspection has taken place, the EHO awards you a score between 0 and 5. In two years we will have another EHO inspection.
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