What does an EHO Visit consist of?
If you prepare food for public consumption, you will eventually be visited by the Environmental Health Officer. The It is a legal requirement that they visit. As a food provider, you are legislatively bound to accommodate their visit and give them access to your premises. However, preparing for this can be complicated and nerve-wracking, so we’ve created an EHO Visit Checklist to help you on your way.
What Does The EHO Look For?
The EHO does not need to make an appointment or notify you in advance of their visit. In addition, they have the right to inspect, take photographs and report on your business, in the interest of public safety.
As a rough guide, the better your previous inspection, the less likely you are to receive a visit. When assessed by the EHO, you receive a score as deserved by the rules of the food hygiene rating scheme. Accordingly, inspectors are more likely to visit previously low-rated businesses, where they have previously requested improvement and/or suspect a public health issue.
EHO Visit Checklist
Whilst it cannot guarantee you a 5-star rating, the checklist below will help you prepare for the EHO visit.
Part 1 – Safe Food Practices
• Is your stock control procedure accurate and up to date at all times?
• Are your fridge and freezers effectively monitored for temperature levels?
• Have you put adequate cross-contamination prevention in place and have you fully accounted for allergens?
– Separate chopping boards
– Colour coded equipment
– Different preparation areas
– Effective cross contamination areas
– Fridge storage and cleaning
• Do your team maintain good personal hygiene?
– Regular and effective hand washing
– Clean washing area with soap and disposable towels
– Use of appropriate protective clothing and accessories such as hair and beard nets
– Workwear and protective clothing are being worn appropriately and only in the workplace
– Leave and return policy is in place to maintain a hygienic work environment
• Are you using standard procedures for general safe practice such as 6 stage clean, single use cloths and so forth?
Part 2 – Your Premises and Environment
• How regular and efficient is your cleaning?
– Go behind equipment and storage as well as surfaces
– Clean, tidy storage
– Temporary preparation areas are considered
– Correct cleaning materials available and clearly labelled
– CoSHH and potential chemical hazards accounted for
• Pest control
– Waste areas are secure, appropriate and emptied regularly
– Vermin control equipment and procedures are appropriate
• Does the lighting work adequately??
• Is ventilation clean and appropriate?
• Are grease traps, extractors, dishwashers etc, serviced and clean?
• Electrical equipment functioning and serviced??
Part 3 – Safety Management
• HACCP or Safer Food Better Business plan in place and adhered to?
• Are you sure you are cooking to safe temperatures?
• Is hot holding and cold display being maintained effectively?
• Correct storage procedures such as FIFO and placement of high-risk food and raw meat in the fridge are being followed.
• D you have a clear, visible and up-to-date cleaning schedule?
• Are you and your team trained to the appropriate level?
• Can the team demonstrate knowledge of food safety for their role?
• Have you properly calibrated/serviced your safety equipment?
This is not an exhaustive list, but it does cover the main aspects of a visit. Assuming you are adhering to correct practice, you should be able to tick all the above.
If you can, and you are confident that you are meeting standard requirements, then there is no reason why you should not be issued a 5-star rating. However, and this is a very important point that is a regular bone of contention for businesses up and down the UK, ask yourself this final question:
“Can I demonstrate compliance with all of these so that when the EHO visits they will be able to confidently report that they are appropriate”?
Can I Appeal A Hygiene Rating?
In the majority of cases, 4 or 5-star ratings are issued after the visit. However, if the EHO issues an improvement notice or similar instruction, then you legally must follow it. If it is deemed necessary to issue a list of improvements, a follow-up visit will occur. Then, if you still haven’t met the requirements you could find yourself in very hot water and even in court.
If you feel your rating is unfair, you can appeal within 14 days. Firstly, however, you may want to directly contact the issuing officer and unbiasedly understand their reasoning for your rating. Afterwards, you can appeal to your local authority, who will be able direct you on the appeal process path.
Remember, the HMO is not working against you. They are simply helping to maintain good public health. So, if you are meeting the required standard, you should be just fine.
Want more information about food hygiene training?
Again, however, this is by no means an exhaustive checklist. A vital pillar of a good food hygiene rating is having your entire staff adequately trained in food hygiene practice. The best proof of this is a verifiable food hygiene certificate.
You can take our Level 2 Food Hygiene courses, entirely online, in just 1 to 2 hours. Moreover, with the option to pause and restart the course as many times as you need, these are our most flexible training options.
Purchase today and start training immediately. You can download your verifiable food hygiene certificate immediately upon completion.
Our friendly customer support team is always happy to talk through your food hygiene training options. Why not give us a call on 01327 552136, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the live chat feature on this website to speak to us during office hours. We’re here to help from 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.