Top 10 Food Safety Questions from Day 1 at NRA: Ask Shelly the Friendly Health Inspector

Day 1 at the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show was a busy one at the Cambro booth. Our guest, Shelly the Friendly Health Inspector answered quite a few questions from booth guests and online posts.
Here are some of the most memorable questions. Ask your own question here: or tweet us @cambro1 with your question.

Question Answer
1. How long do you have to re-heat frozen soup? 1. You have 2 hours to re-heat properly cooled items to 165 degrees.
2. What can a facility do if their supplier insists on delivering their food when no one is at the facility? 2. Don’t be afraid to ask your local regulator for help in getting the issue resolved since the supplier might be doing unsafe practices with other clients as well.
3. Why as a US citizen am I subject to different food safety regulations from state to state? 3. In the US state’s rights is a big issue and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)was passed in 2011 to help with this issue so food safety regulations can be more standardized all over the US.
4. What is the number one concern in a restaurant for food safety? 4. Personal hygiene (handwashing, barehand contact, ill employees, etc.)
5. What areas in a restaurant are the biggest concerns? 5. Handwashing stations and making sure employees had access to proper equipment.
6. My facility uses a pizza wheel and then stores it on the counter for the next use is that ok?  I was told it has to be stored in a sanitizer solution. What is correct? 6. It is ok to store in-use utensils on clean, dry, cleanable surfaces so long as they are washed rinsed and sanitized every 4 hours.  However, it would be better to store in an ice bath, under running water, under 41 degrees or above 135 degrees.  Also, it is a violation according to the FDA food code to store in-use utensils in a sanitizer solution since you could introduce an unapproved additive to your food and it may not prevent bacteria growth within food particles.
7. What types of things annoy inspectors during a food safety inspection? 7. Be clean starting in the parking lot, be punctual, be honest, and correct repeat violations.
8. I have grated cheese that I keep on ice, but I have a hard time keeping it below 41 degrees what can I do? 8. This is a challenging issue for lots of facilities.  Frist have the cheese tested to see if temperature control is required.  Then make sure the ice bath has enough water to come in contact with the whole container up to the level of the food.  Make sure the container is a good temperature conductor and is covered when not in use.  Finally, make sure to have small quantities.
9. What are the requirements to be a health inspector? 9. It will change depending on different jurisdictions.  However, most counties require a BS degree with 30 hours of science.
10. Can I require an employee that wears a wig to wear a hair net? 10. Yes the FDA food code states hair has to be adequately restrained and a wig is considered hair and can still introduce a physical hazard to the food.

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