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What can I Expect During a Food Hygiene Test?

By L.R. Ferguson
Updated Feb 15, 2024
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A food hygiene test — also called a food inspection — evaluates the measures taken to handle, prepare and store food that is served to the public. A hygiene test will determine whether the personnel at a restaurant or a business that serves food handles the food in a manner that is safe and appropriate for consumption. Though food inspections vary by region, they are considered necessary to decrease the occurrence of food-related illnesses, many of which can lead to death. This test gauges the quality and condition of food and determines whether it is prepared and stored in a sanitary manner. During a food hygiene test, you can expect a thorough evaluation of food handling procedures to determine whether all applicable guidelines and regulations are being followed.

A food hygiene test is typically performed by a trained professional, known as a food inspector, who ensures that a restaurant or facility meets the local and regional safety requirements for food handling. The food inspector will not only note aspects in which an establishment is following protocol but also areas in which the business needs improvement. One of the most fundamental elements of a food hygiene test is the food inspector’s unexpected arrival. Arriving unannounced to a restaurant allows the inspector to obtain an accurate summary of the everyday activity of the business.

After the food inspector arrives at an establishment, one aspect that he or she will evaluate is the personnel or restaurant employees. He or she will observe workers who come into contact with food to ensure that they have been properly trained in food sanitation and safety. For instance, the inspector will observe the cleanliness of the workers’ uniforms and observe how frequently and how well they wash their hands. If any employee neglects to follow proper protocol when handling or preparing food, the inspector will note this on the report, and he or she typically will try to correct the behavior and bring it to the attention of the manager or supervisor.

The food inspector will check the cleanliness of the kitchen to determine whether it is sanitary. He or she will observe any work areas that come in contact with food — such as countertops, stoves and cutting boards — and will determine whether these areas are thoroughly disinfected. As employees clean work areas and cooking utensils, the inspector will note the chemicals or solutions being used to make sure that they do not come into contact with food. Furthermore, the inspector will check the facilities for any holes or cracks that can potentially allow pests or rodents to enter the kitchen.

Finally, during a food hygiene test, an inspector will thoroughly investigate the cleanliness of the food and how it is stored, handled and prepared. For instance, an inspector will make sure that raw meat, poultry or seafood is handled safely and that it is always separated from cooked food. He or she will also make sure that foods are thoroughly cooked at the appropriate temperatures. Furthermore, the inspector will make certain that food is fresh and is not exposed to improper temperatures.

At the end of a food hygiene test, the inspector will let the manager or owner of a facility know the status of the test, areas in which the establishment did well and areas in which improvement is needed. If the food hygiene test was largely a success, then there will be little, if any, reprimand from the inspector or authorities. If, however, the inspection goes poorly, the inspector will report his or her findings, which could lead to penalties, fees and action taken against the establishment, depending on the local and regional laws regarding food hygiene.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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