Restaurants are inspected at intervals based on risk factors (such as types of foods prepared). Environmental Health Specialists enforce the North Carolina rules and regulations governing the sanitation of restaurant and other foodhandling establishments. Some examples of these regulations are as follows:
- All food must come from an approved source.
- Food must be handled properly from the time it leaves the delivery vehicle to the time it is served.
- Food must be kept at proper temperatures during receiving, storage, preparation, and cooking. It must never be reserved.
- The kitchen, dining area, and lavatories must be in good repair.
- The kitchen, including utensils such as pots, silverware, plates, and cutting boards, must be clean and sanitized properly.
- Water must come from an approved and pressurized source. Required temperatures must be met.
- Personnel must practice good hygiene, including proper hand washing habits and clean clothing. They should not work while ill.
Additionally, sewage disposal, restroom facilities, pest control, cleaning and construction of floors, walls, and ceilings, lighting and ventilation are routinely checked during inspections.
Points are taken for each regulated item not performed properly on the official inspection form. Each item not performed to code is reviewed with the owner / operator of the restaurant. Once an inspection is complete the points for each item are added up and the total score is the grade. The grade card is posted where it can be easily seen by the public. All establishments are required by law to keep their grade card posted. Any establishment failing to score at least 70% will have its permit revoked immediately.