Restaurants in every state throughout the U.S. are subject to routine health inspections. During inspections, the auditors check every little detail to ensure the establishment is not compromising the safety of any customers or employees. While some of the items on the auditor's checklist seem obvious, such as keeping the freezer at the appropriate temperature, other items are a little easier to forget.
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A restaurant safety manual released by the Mississippi Restaurant Association includes an audit checklist. One item on the list is the requirement that all restaurant employees wear shoes with a slip-resistant sole. While a failure to wear non-slip shoes seems like a silly infraction, this mistake can actually be quite dangerous and put employees at risk of being seriously injured. A pamphlet created by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries asserted 49 restaurant employees received burns that required hospitalisation between 2000 and 2008. Of those 49 hospitalisation, more than 30 per cent were attributed to slipping, falling, or tripping.
An inspection worksheet created by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene explicitly prohibits the use of food from severely dented cans. The restaurant might have got such cans at a discount from a local store, or the cans might have been dented as they were being unloaded from a delivery truck. Either way, dented cans need to be tossed in the garbage because they could harbour botulism.
Too Much Bleach
Restaurants are expected to put cleaning cloths in a bleach solution when the cloths are not in use. The Multnomah County Health Department maintains that the amount of bleach in the solution should be more than 50 parts per million (ppm) but should not exceed 200 ppm. Using the incorrect amount of bleach can be a serious problem because using too little will mean that the germs that cause illness will not be killed, but using too much means that the customers could ingest the bleach and get sick. This amount of bleach can easily be tested using litmus strips, but some restaurants neglect to conduct the test, and there are cases on record of restaurants having been found during inspections to be using bleach levels above the 200 ppm upper limit.
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- Mississippi Restaurant Association: Restaurant-Kitchen Safety Manual
- Washington State Department of Labor & Industries: Burn Injury Facts-Scald Burns in Restaurant Workers
- New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene: Restaurant Inspection Information-Food Service Establishment Inspection Worksheet
- Multnomah County Health Department: Food Handler's Manual
- University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Improperly Canned Food Provides Botulism Haven
- University of Missouri Extension: Beware of the Dangers of Botulism
- City-Data.com: Burger King #7205, 8901 Seminole Trail, Ruckersville, VA - Restaurant inspection
- City-Data.com: Tommy Thai, 6316 Springfield Plaza, Springfield, VA - Restaurant inspection findings and violations