Health Inspection of Coolers & Freezers
This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.
In recent years, health inspections have properly transitioned away from “floors, walls and ceilings” and are now focused on the factors which can cause food borne illness. So how about your walk-in cooler or freezer? What will your inspector most closely examine?
1. Temperature - Most important
Are the units holding foods at the required temperatures? Temperature control is essential to limit the growth of disease causing bacteria.
2. Sufficient lighting?
This is important for the purposes of cleaning, product identification, rotating stock, etc.
3. Is food up off the floor & on shelving?
Floors are always considered a dirty surface. If product is on the floor, and then placed on working surfaces such as work tables or cutting boards, that is an opportunity for cross contamination. Dirt and food can accumulate in seams in the floor.
4. Shelving of commercial quality & kept clean?
Shelving needs to be durable and easily cleanable. Food spills are common and need to be kept cleaned up as part of your normal sanitation program.
5. Freezer floor clean dry & free of ice build-up
Cleaning of floors should be done routinely and they should be kept dry and free of ice to prevent slips
6. Walk-in door closers in working order?
If not, you may be allowing foods to warm up above the required temperature. Even if not, you are subjecting the compressor to unneeded run time and wear. This is dollars lost.
7. Strip curtains installed?
Although they are not required, recommended to conserve chilled air. This results in dollars saved on energy costs.
Additional Items to Check
Lack of interior release in walk-in.
Spoiled or improperly packaged food in your walk-in.
Any spills or pieces of food in the walk-in not cleaned up.
Mold present in the walk-in cooler.
Refrigeration unit poorly ventilated and in close proximity to combustibles.
Walk-in not held at the proper temperature for food storage.
Improper organization of the walk-in or obstructions in the area around it, making it hard to service or clean.
Ceilings and walls in the walk-in cooler not constructed of cleanable materials.
Rust on the panels or floors.
Ready-to-eat food items held in a refrigerator longer than 24 hours not labeled with a use-by date.
Lights not working in the walk-in.
Thermometers not accurate in walk-in.
Worn door parts causing the improper closing or functioning of the door, such as gaskets.
Roaches or other pests living inside the cooler, gaskets or drain line.