Whether you work in a cafeteria, the B&I sector, or in a fine dining restaurant, all chefs share one basic tenant. We need to serve safe food to our guests, which of course means knowing and implementing the health code standards for our region. Using food service safety forms geared for your particular kitchen can help your crew maintain the standards. These standards can fluctuate depending on many variables including whether you’re in a healthcare facility, the state and county you live in, sometimes even what city you live in. Healthcare facilities for it instance are under a much more stringent regiment of health inspection and standards.
The B&I industry also tends to have a higher standard when it comes to health inspections as regards the plethora of health department forms needed (i.e. corporate bureaucracy) to monitor food safety discipline in the kitchen. Interestingly though, in the one B&I sector establishment I worked at the health department was more flexible than they were in many restaurants I’ve worked in. For instance, we were given the opportunity to correct issues on the spot and not be docked points. This resulted in us being able to get 100% health inspection scores which was our corporate company’s standard. The health inspector basically allowed us to fix issues immediately, or returned the next day to re-inspect those issues and then wouldn’t dock us points for things we fixed. But at restaurants we are rarely awarded this luxury. I have received one or two points simply because there were a few leaves of dried spices on the spice shelf. Some health inspectors will work with you, while others can be downright anal.
Below are examples of various food service safety forms done in one Excel spreadsheet (free download below) with multiple tabs which include a number of sheets for maintaining safe food standards in your establishment. They include a hot holding temperature log, banquet catering event hot holding log, sink temperature log, thermometer calibration log, Quat sanitizer log, bleach sanitizer log, and a food cool down temperature log. Of course you’ll need to verify the standards set on each one of these. Some states have cold holding set at 40° while others use 41° and hot holding may be at 135° or 140° depending upon the region you live in.
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