THE REASON COLUMN
The "Reason" column briefly states why each item should be checked. It tells what
problems could result from inadequate performance.
THE IMPORTANCE COLUMN
The "Importance" column places each item into one of five categories based
upon importance in contributing to foodborne disease outbreaks. These categories are
derived from the fact that some items are a greater health hazard than others. For
example, infected employees handling food are a greater health hazard than improper
storage of utensils.
a. There are five categories. These categories correspond to the weight on the
inspection checklist (para 1-3b). Categories used to identify the seriousness of health
(1) Category 5. This category is for those items that are extremely
hazardous. If safeguards are not taken, an item in this category can be the direct and
rapid cause of foodborne illness. These items usually involve food contact and
temperature control. Examples are the temperature requirements for potentially
hazardous foods and the requirement that employees with communicable diseases,
infected cuts, burns, etc., not work.
(2) Category 4. This category indicates items that are hazardous but not so
hazardous as the items in Category 5. Category 4 items can also cause outbreaks of
foodborne illness, but they are less likely to do so than are Category 5 items. Items in
Category 4 involve storage of toxic items, employee hygiene, maintenance of safe
temperatures for refrigeration equipment, and safe water and sewage systems.
(3) Category 3. This category includes items that contribute to foodborne
disease outbreaks in an indirect manner. They are not so immediately hazardous as
items in Categories 4 and 5. Examples are the conditions of food contact surfaces and
the condition of toilet and lavatory facilities.
(4) Category 2. Category 2 indicates items, which are not very hazardous.
However, they can be part of the chain of events leading to a foodborne disease
outbreak. Examples of items in this category are the provision of thermometers,
pressure gauges, chemical test kits, and the construction and maintenance of nonfood
(5) Category 1. This category is for items that are basically not health
hazards. Given other factors and the right situation, they can sometimes contribute to
outbreaks of foodborne illness. Frequently, they are a matter of appearance, design, or
simply neatness and efficiency. Examples are the lighting system, the proper labeling
of containers, the neatness of the premises, and the maintenance of training records.