The inspection

Observations made during the current inspection (today)

You visit the premises and meet with both Chad and Cheryl. Chad shows you the kitchen and then takes you to see both of the guest bedrooms (see the floorplan of the guesthouse). You note:

  • The refrigerator in the kitchen is running at 4°C.
  • All food in the refrigerator is within date and all raw food is stored at the bottom.
  • All worksurfaces and equipment are visually clean.
  • The water at the wash basin and kitchen sink is hand hot.

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Conversation with Chad

Officer: So when did you open for business?

Chad: We had our first four guests last weekend.

Officer: What’s the maximum number of guests that you will accommodate at one time?

Chad: Just four.

Officer: Will you accept any additional children?

Chad: No

Officer: How many days each week will you be open?

Chad: We will accept guests all week although I expect we will be busier at weekends.

Officer: Do you accept long term guests such as people waiting to be rehoused by the council?

Chad: No, I think most of our guests during the week will be working in sales and similar and will be looking for a cheap, clean bed for the night. At weekends I imagine it will mostly be tourists.

Officer: So basically this is your house and you are hoping to attract a few guests to supplement your income.

Chad: Yes, that’s exactly it, this is our home. We’re not a hotel or anything, just provide B & B for a few guests.

Officer: Who does the cooking and handling of food?

Chad: That will be me. Cheryl will be doing the housekeeping, making the beds and that side of things but I will be the only one doing the cooking.

Officer: Have you had any food hygiene training?

Chad: Yes, when I was in the Navy but that was a few years back. I have read a couple of books on food hygiene recently and looked at the Food Standards Agency website and so feel confident that I know what I’m doing. There are some decent videos on there which cover cooking, cleaning, hand washing etc. I also read the E.coli guidance, which is just basic common sense really.

Officer: Where do you get your food from?

Chad: There is a Sainsbury’s just around the corner and so we get everything there.

Officer: Will you source anything from anywhere else?

Chad: No, just from Sainsbury’s.

Officer: Do you keep your receipts for any food purchased?

Chad: Yes, I give them to Cheryl who does the books.

Officer: Do you use your kitchen for both private and business?

Chad: Yes, we only have the one kitchen.

Officer: Do you have any pets?

Chad: No.

Officer: Does anyone else live here with you?

Chad: Only my wife, Cheryl.

Officer: Are you using Safer Food Better Business?

Chad: No, I looked at it but it seemed a bit over the top for what we are doing. I mean I will only be preparing a maximum of four breakfasts a day but most days it will be less than that. I expect that some guests will only want toast and cereal anyway.

Officer: What checks do you do before you prepare food in the morning?

Chad: I have a routine that I followed in the Navy. I check that all of the worksurfaces are clean and I spray them with sanitiser. I wash my hands before handling any food and after touching raw food such as sausages, bacon or raw vegetables. I check that the fridge is operating at below 8°C using a digital thermometer and check to make sure everything is within date.

Officer: Talk me through how you check the fridge temperature.

Chad: I use a digital thermometer and I stick to the routine that I used in the navy. I put the probe in a glass of water with a few ice cubes in it to check that it reads zero. I then boil the kettle and place the probe in a cup of boiling water for a few moments. This is a bit of a habit I picked up years ago, I was told during my chef’s training that it would check that the probe is working and kill any bugs on the probe. I then place the probe into the centre of a food on the top shelf.

Officer: why the top shelf?

Chad: Because that would be the hottest part of the fridge. If a food is okay there then the rest will be fine.

Officer: What would you do if your temperature checks showed that food was above 8°C?

Chad: Gosh that would be a problem. I haven’t come across that before but I suppose the best thing to do would be to nip over to Sainsbury’s and replace the food for breakfast. That would be my priority. After that I would throw all of the food that was stored in the fridge away and investigate what had happened. I suppose it’s possible that the thermostat might get knocked during the day whilst cleaning inside the fridge. It’s all new and under warranty so I wouldn’t expect the fridge to fail.

Officer: Do you write anything down to show that you have done these things?

Chad: No, I don’t see the point, I know whether I have done them and so it would be a waste of time really. Like I say, it is a habit I picked up in the navy it is second nature to me.

Officer: Do you check the temperature of the sausages prior to serving them?

Chad: No, I served thousands of sausages in the Navy and so I know when they are cooked.

Officer: You do all of the cooking so what would you do if you were ill?

Chad: Guests would have to go to Sainsbury’s Café for breakfast. Cheryl is a late riser so wouldn’t be keen to cook for them.

Officer: Where do you wash your hands?

Chad: There is a cloakroom toilet next to the kitchen so I use that.

Officer: Is this accessible to guests?

Chad: No, this is only used by myself and Cheryl. I have had a paper towel dispenser installed in there so that I don’t have to use a normal hand towel. I also leave the door open when not in use so that I can wash my hands and come straight into the kitchen without using door handles.

Officer: What about washing food, equipment and crockery.

Chad: We have a dishwasher for the equipment and crockery etc and we use the sink in the centre island of the kitchen to wash food.

Officer: Do you do any preparation of food in advance?

Chad: No, I only cook to order.

Officer: If a guest asks, will you serve them with soft boiled or runny fried eggs?

Chad: Yes, we only use Lion Brand eggs from Sainsbury’s so there isn’t a problem.

Officer: How do you clean down the work surfaces?

Chad: I scrub the work tops with hot soapy water, then rinse and dry off with a paper towel. I then spray them with sanitiser and leave them to air dry.

Conversation with Cheryl

Officer: Do you do any of the cooking or handling of food?

Cheryl: No I leave that to Chad.

Officer: What about food shopping?

Cheryl: Chad does all of that. I attend to the cleaning, making up the rooms and deal with the bookings and accounts.

Officer: What about if Chad was ill or otherwise unavailable, would you do any cooking then?

Cheryl: No, the guests would have to go to Sainsbury’s for breakfast.

Officer: Do you keep any record of what food has been purchased?

Cheryl: Yes, Chad buys everything from Sainsbury’s and I keep the receipts for the accounts.