“How Many Handsinks Do You All Have”
Congratulations to South Carolina for their innovative work in developing virtual restaurant inspections recently reported at the Food Safety Summit. Handwashing For Life® advocates this move to “Telespections” as a way to increase the dialogue between restaurateurs and their inspector-consultants. Even after the COVID-19 crisis passes these can be scheduled between the face-to-face events.
Virtual inspections have the advantage that they can be timed to fit the operation and assure the availability of the accountable manager. Many topics can be covered effectively and efficiently. A video scan of the equipment confirms its presence and condition. Temperatures are actively checked. And handwashing? “How many handsinks do you all have?” This inspection question may be acceptable in the short-term but a data-rich compliance report would be far superior as an indicator of public safety.
The “presence” of a handsink is codified in the FDA’s model Food Code. Its use is not.
COVID-19 has intensified the need for frequent handwashing and the CDC continues to underscore it as the “single-most effective” action to fight foodborne and person-to-person pathogen transmission. New technologies are available to provide staff with the incentive to wash and the power to assure C-suite executives that this risk is under control.
If Crushed Red restaurants ever have the opportunity to be inspected virtually, the handwash questioning might well follow this pattern: “What percentage of your safe level compliance is being achieved month to month?” “Could I please see the last two monthly reports?”