Now if there is anything that sharpens the mind, it’s a visit from the EHO
An Inspector calls.
Knock, Knock, Knock from the office door aroused me from my pc screen as I worked alone in the office. As we are a friendly bunch at Lemon Zest, and most guests just stroll in, I walked over perplexed, to reveal our visitor. “Good morning, environmental health, here to inspect the premises” Now if there is anything that sharpens the mind, it’s a visit from the EHO. Don’t get me wrong we have nothing to hide but suddenly questions about procedures jump into your head. Are all the doors closed correctly, have the staff remembered the correct ppe (personal protection equipment), has the head chef filed all his paperwork?
We have two visits a year to comply with Northamptonshire’s scores on the doors hygiene rating system. One of them is by appointment and the other just like today is a surprise. The visit comprises of an interview to discuss our food management controls, hygiene and training. This is all backed up by paperwork including COSHH (control of substances hazardous to health) and HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control point) which is one of the roles undertaken by our head chef. This is followed by an inspection of the kitchen to see that the systems are being adhered to and that staff are trained accordingly.
It has been three hours since I welcomed our mystery visitor and I now sit across from her in our meeting room with very few of my fingernails left. This is it the culmination of the inspection and time to pass judgement. We are marked on 3 areas, Food hygiene and safety, structure and cleaning, and finally management control systems/training. The lower the score we receive in each area the better the rating. The tension builds as the marks are totted up and finally our judgement is passed….. “Congratulations you have been awarded 5 stars, the maximum” The butterflies in my stomach subside as I bid farewell to our visitor. I do however have a wry smile and wonder which business will be next to hear the knock, knock, knock?