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Food Preparation and Service-Part 5


October 2003
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 2004-101
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Self-Inspection Checklist

Optional Information
Optional Information
Name of school:
Date of inspection:
Career-Technical program/course/room:
Signature of inspector:


Food preparation and service regulations are issued by State health departments and vary from State to State. This checklist uses the New Jersey Department of Health regulations as a model for assessing food preparation and service areas. Please consult your own State health department for the regulations that are applicable in your State. This checklist applies to school cafeterias and, in general, any area or operation that prepares or serves food to the public with or without charge. Although not directly applicable to general classroom activities, this checklist will be helpful in reviewing general food safety practices. A yes answer to a question indicates that this portion of the inspection complies with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard, or with a non regulatory recommendation. Definitions of terms in bold type are provided at the end of the checklist.

check mark symbol Questions marked with this symbol may require the help of an outside expert.

  1. Garbage and Rubbish Disposal Facilities

  2. Are all garbage and rubbish containers leak proof, non- absorbent, and constructed of durable metal or other approved material?
  3. Are waste containers, while being stored, covered with tight-fitting lids?
  4. Are kitchen waste containers emptied daily?
  5. Are waste containers cleaned on the outside and inside?
  6. Are cleaning supplies and an appropriate worksite– located away from the food preparation areas–provided to clean garbage and rubbish containers?
  7. Are sufficient numbers of containers available to hold all garbage and rubbish containing food waste?Note: Plastic bags should not be used.
  8. Are waste containers inaccessible to vermin?
  9. Are exterior storage area enclosures large enough and kept clean?
  10. Is the surface area under the outside waste containers smooth and nonabsorbent (e.g., concrete)?
  11. Is the frequency of waste disposal daily or often enough so a health nuisance is not created?

    Vermin Control

  12. Are effective control measures used to minimize and eliminate the presence of vermin?Note: This would include professional extermination.
  13. Are all openings to the outside air effectively protected against the entrance of insects by self-closing doors, closed windows, screening, controlled air currents, or other means?
  14. Are openings to the exterior, such as those caused by electrical wiring and plumbing, effectively protected against the entrance of rodents?

    Floors, Walls, and Ceilings

  15. Are floors, walls, and ceilings in good repair?
  16. Are floors in kitchens, stock rooms, restrooms, and other places where foods are stored or prepared made of nonabsorbent materials and easily cleanable?
  17. If provided, are floor drains sealed, pitched, and installed so they function properly?
  18. If carpeting is used, is it closely woven (not shag), properly installed (sealed at seams), and kept clean and in good repair?Note: Carpeting is not recommended in food preparation, equipment-washing, and utensil-washing areas (where it would be exposed to large amounts of grease and water), in food storage areas, and toilet room areas.
  19. Are walking and driving surfaces clean, free of debris, and properly graded and drained?
  20. Are walking and driving surfaces provided with concrete, asphalt, gravel, or similar materials to minimize dust?
  21. Are concave juncture tiles installed between the floor and wall or baseboard to facilitate housekeeping?
  22. Are walls in food preparation, utensil-washing, and handwashing areas of light color, smooth, and easily cleanable?


  23. check mark symbol Are 30 foot candles of light provided on all food preparation surfaces and at work levels?Note: Inadequate lighting has been associated with poor housekeeping and mixing toxic substances into foodstuff.
  24. check mark symbol Are 20 foot candles of light provided in storage and lavatory areas?
  25. check mark symbol Are 10 foot candles of light provided in all other areas?


  26. Is sufficient ventilation provided to keep rooms free of excessive heat, steam, grease, condensation, vapors, obnoxious odors, smoke, and fumes?
  27. Are all exhaust ducts in hoods provided with filters that are easily removable for cleaning and replacement?


  28. Are employees’ clothing and personal belongings stored and maintained in an orderly manner?
  29. Are laundered cloths and napkins stored in a clean, protected place until used?
  30. Are nonabsorbent containers or laundry bags used to store soiled or damp linen or clothing?
  31. Are only items necessary for the operation of the establishment kept on the premises?

    Live Birds and Animals

    Are guide dogs accompanying a blind or deaf person the only animals permitted in food storage, preparation, or serving areas?

    Enforcement Provisions

  32. Is a food inspection conducted at least once a year by a local board of health?
  33. After an inspection by a licensed official, are evaluation placards immediately posted near the entrance of the establishment?
  34. Are inspection reports provided to the public on request and maintained for 2 years?

    Food Manager Certification

  35. Has at least one supervisory person completed a certified food safety and sanitation course?


Footcandle: a unit of measure of the intensity of light falling on a surface.