Food sanitation inspectors look for critical items relating to food-borne illnesses, such as proper hand washing, approved food sources, adequate cooking and storage temperatures, dishwasher effectiveness, and potential for cross-contamination. Less critical items include proper food container labeling, current permits, proper calibration of meat thermometers, general cleanliness of surfaces and employee habits.
Food inspection criteria vary according to regulations set by the state departments of public health. Local health departments are responsible for sending sanitation inspectors to food service establishments such as restaurants, delis and cafeterias. Inspections are unannounced, and most food service operations are inspected at least twice a year. Inspectors also perform temporary assessments of non-permanent food services, including carnivals, festivals and fairs.
You can find many sample sanitation inspector forms online with specific checklists from places like the Georgia Department of Public Health. The form is organized in sections in which the inspector must determine compliance with current regulations. These include supervision, employee health and hygiene practices, contamination risk, handling and cooking of potentially hazardous foods such as raw chicken, chemical storage, safe water sources, proper labeling, utensil usage and cleaning, waste handling, and pest control.
Since food service owners and management are required to know their local health codes, inspectors often ask questions during the inspection to test their knowledge. Inspectors may also check the location's records to ensure employees are keeping track of food prep temperatures and other critical assessments that must be performed regularly.