Food Safety Self-Inspection for Child-Care Facilities
by Julie A. Albrecht, Extension Foods Specialist
University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension

Conduct a food-safety self-inspection with the following checklist to help you provide safe food for the children in your care.

Test your food preparation skills by answering the following questions. Concentrate on one section at a time. Choose a time when food preparation is in progress. Check either yes or no. Questions receiving a "no" answer indicate areas that you should change.

Personal Hygiene
Yes No  
_____ _____ Are food handlers well groomed (clean clothing, restrained hair, and clean hands, including fingernails)?
_____ _____ Do food handlers wash their hands frequently (after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and after handling raw foods, dirty dishes, or garbage)?
_____ _____ Do you and your staff follow proper hand washing procedures?
_____ _____ Are food handlers' hands free from cuts and sores?
_____ _____ Do food handlers wear plastic gloves or other waterproof protection if cuts and sores are present?
_____ _____ Are you and your staff generally in good health?
Purchasing, Receiving and Inspecting Food
Yes No  
_____ _____ Do you buy foods from reliable suppliers?
_____ _____ Do the foods you buy meet your child care center's standards?
_____ _____ Does someone check the food for adequate frozen(0o) or refrigerated temperatures (40o), damage or insect infestation, expiration dates, and other quality indicators, before accepting them?
_____ _____ Is the food receiving area clean?
Food Storage
Yes No  
_____ _____ Do you use appropriate food-storage containers (no garbage bags, etc.)?
_____ _____ Do you store raw foods separately from cooked foods?
_____ _____ Are the food storage areas clean?
_____ _____ Is food stored away from cleaning agents and other supplies?
_____ _____ Is food stored off the floors?
_____ _____ Is the dry food storage area dry and between 40o and 70oF?
_____ _____ Do you store foods to ensure a first-in, first-out use?
_____ _____ Do you label food packages and containers to indicate contents and date of storage?
_____ _____ Do you maintain the refrigerator at or below 40o and the freezer at 0oF?
_____ _____ Do you have an accurate thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer?
Food Service Equipment
Yes No  
_____ _____ Is the equipment in good working condition?
_____ _____ Are food handlers following proper procedures for operating the equipment?
_____ _____ Do you and staff members properly clean and sanitize equipment (especially sink spigots) after each use?
_____ _____ Do staff members follow proper dishwashing (manual or automatic) procedures?
_____ _____ Are food handlers properly cleaning and sanitizing cutting boards and food contact work surfaces after each use?
Food Preparation
Yes No  
_____ _____ Do you thaw frozen foods in a microwave, under refrigeration, under cold running water, or cook foods directly in the frozen state?
_____ _____ During food preparation, are food handlers keeping food in the danger zone (40o to 140oF) for less than 2 hours?
_____ _____ Do you cook food items to the proper internal temperatures (180o for chicken, 170o for pork, and 160o for ground beef and meat loaf)?
_____ _____ Do you use a thermometer to check the temperature of a cooked product or refrigerated food?
_____ _____ Do you keep and serve hot foods at 140oF or above and cold foods at 40oF or below?
_____ _____ Do you store hot foods in shallow containers and refrigerate immediately?
_____ _____ Do you wash raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly before serving?
_____ _____ Is there minimal handling of foods during preparation?
_____ _____ During preparation, do food handlers taste food in a sanitary manner? Do they use a separate utensil?
_____ _____ Do you reheat leftovers to 165oF and serve immediately?
Infant Food Preparation
Yes No  
_____ _____ Do you use proper sanitizing procedures for infant bottles?
_____ _____ Do you properly sanitize the equipment you use to prepare infant formulas?
_____ _____ Do you check the expiration dates on the products before use?
_____ _____ Do you use safe water for infant formula preparation?
_____ _____ After preparing formulas, do you label bottles with the children's names and the date?
_____ _____ Do you cover the formula and refrigerate it after preparation?
_____ _____ Do you use formulas made from powdered formula within 24 hours?
_____ _____ Do you use formulas made from concentrated liquid formulas within 48 hours?
_____ _____ Do you discard the partially consumed milk or formula remaining in the bottle?
_____ _____ Do you remove baby food from jars with a clean spoon and serve it in dishes to infants? (If food remains in the jar, tightly close, date, and store it in the refrigerator. Use opened containers within 72 hours.)
_____ _____ Do you warm food just before eating? Does food remain in the danger zone (40o to 140oF) for less than 2 hours?
_____ _____ Do you dispose of the uneaten food on plates?
Serving Foods
Yes No  
_____ _____ Do children wash their hands before and after eating?
_____ _____ Do you clean and sanitize tables, chairs, and high chairs?
_____ _____ Do food handlers use utensils instead of hands to serve foods?
_____ _____ Do food handlers wear plastic gloves while serving food?
_____ _____ Do you lverware on the tables in a way that prevents contamination?
_____ _____ Are replacements available if children drop their silverware on the floor?
_____ _____ Do you use separate cloths and sponges for the children, tables, and floor spills?
Yes No  
_____ _____ Are the kitchen and eating areas clean?
_____ _____ Is the garbage kept covered and located away from food preparation, food storage, and the children's play area?
_____ _____ Do you keep the restrooms clean and supplied with liquid soap and single-use towels or forced-air blowers?
_____ _____ Do you empty wastebaskets regularly?
_____ _____ Is the diapering area away from the food preparation area?
_____ _____ Do you sanitize and keep the diapering area clean?
_____ _____ Do you discard soiled diapers promptly?
_____ _____ Do you keep live animals away from food preparation and serving areas?

Reprinted with permission of author.

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