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Public Health - Seattle & King County

Take a tour of our mock food inspection

Chris Skilton - Public Health Food Inspector Hi, I'm Chris, and I will lead you through a mock food inspection. I've been a food inspector for a long time, and I think you will enjoy learning about the food inspection process and how a typical inspection is done.

Click image above to watch what Chris Skilton, food inspector, does when visiting a food establishment.
During an inspection, we pay particular attention to four major areas of concerns:
  1. Foods frequently associated with food borne illnesses.
  2. Foods prepared in large volumes.
  3. "Ready to eat" foods that will be served without any further cooking or processing. With these foods, food workers must use a barrier between their hands and the food. A "barrier" could be tongs, bakery papers, or gloves.
  4. "Complex recipes" that involve multiple ingredients or that are assembled or mixed, like salads and sandwiches. These recipes create the greatest risk of food borne illness because the food will be handled several times.

A food inspector may visit a food establishment for different reasons:

  • Routine inspections
  • Re-inspections
  • Investigation of complaints by customers
  • Investigation of food borne illnesses
  • Educational visits
  • Learn more about these items

Public Health - Seattle & King County inspects food establishments with Health and Environmental Investigators. In these pages, visitors will be able to participate in a mock food inspection, in which an Investigator -- more commonly known as a "food inspector" -- inspects a full-service restaurant.

In Seattle and King County, there are 35 inspectors who visit nearly 10,000 restaurants and 1,200 temporary food service establishments. All these food establishments have permits, which are renewed annually. The goal of a food inspection is to keep the risk of food borne illness as low as possible through education and enforcement. The main duties of a food inspector are to observe, monitor, ask questions and educate.

Click on the steps below that make up the mock food inspection:

  1. Inspector's checklist
  2. Preparation and arriving at the food establishment
  3. Food preparation area and receiving potentially hazardous foods
  4. Properly storing dry and cold foods
  5. The "prep sink", prep and cook lines, temperature logs and how to take temperature
  6. No bare hand contact with ready to eat foods
  7. The dish room, restrooms and garbage areas
  8. Conclusion and review of inspection