The Top Ten Inspection Points Of An EHO Visit

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Published: 22nd February 2013
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An Environmental Health Officer (EHO) inspection is something that is dreaded by most food establishment owners. It can seem to be a stressful experience but as long as a business is making a concerted effort to ensure that all staff are handling food hygienically and safely, there should not be a problem. Furthermore, there can be many positives to having an EHO inspection.

First and foremost, it is important to remember that an EHO wants a visit to go well and is not out to get businesses and their owners. EHOs are professionals and their main concern is that the health of the public is protected. The closure or prosecution of an establishment will only occur if it is absolutely necessary to ensure public wellbeing.

Why an EHO is helpful to you

EHOs undergo extensive training to become qualified for their jobs and will have either an undergraduate degree or a masters degree in environmental health. This makes them the perfect person to ask advice from when you have concerns or questions regarding the running of a safe and hygienic business. An EHO will be happy to help and make recommendations based on their assessment of your particular business. An EHO can also offer advice about how to improve your food hygiene score in the future if you are not currently happy with it.

6 benefits of an improved working relationship with your EHO

  • Potential improvement in your Food Hygiene Rating

  • Public recognition of your standards, PR & commercial opportunities

  • Free advice on reducing food waste and other efficiencies

  • Reduced likelihood of food poisoning affecting your customers

  • Reduced threat to your livelihood caused by an outbreak and closure notice

  • Increased confidence in you, leading to potentially reduced visit frequency

It is easy to make your EHO visits work for you. If an EHO makes a lot of recommendations, why not invite them back once you've acted on them so that they can monitor your progress? It might seem like an added unnecessary stress but it demonstrates your commitment and increases faith in you. You also know exactly when they are next coming so you have the best possible chance of improving your hygiene score. Once you have had a few successful visits, it is likely that the inspections will become less frequent allowing you to concentrate on the running of your business. Lastly, having a successful food hygiene inspection could mean an improvement on your hygiene score. Customers are more likely to go to places with a good rating so achieving one could generate more business.

Remember, your next EHO visit doesn't need to be headache, these days it's all about being open and honest. If you have a concern, share it with your EHO and you'll get the advice and help to put it right. If you know what they are likely to want to look at, you can be prepared, and the chances of a nasty surprise are much reduced.

Paul Grantham is employed by Safer Food Handler, which has produced a basic UK food hygiene course. Safer Food Handler offers the UK's cheapest Level 2 Food Hygiene Certificate that fully meets the UK legal requirements. For food handling businesses with 5+ employees needing training, there are bulk food hygiene course discounts.

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