Pre-Inspection Checklist for New Owners

This checklist in no way is meant to take the place of the Louisiana State Sanitary Code, Part XXIII, which is applicable to your particular type of business. It is merely to serve as a brief review for some of the more common items generally associated with most food service establishments.

Food is to be purchased from approved sources and provided with approved labels. Do not purchase consumable products from sources such as home kitchens, or from a supplier who does not have a permit from the Food and Drug Division of the State Health Department.

All fluid milk products must be pasteurized

Fresh and frozen shucked shellfish shall be packed in nonreturnable packages identified with the name and address of the original shell-stock processor, shucker-packer, or repacker and the interstate certification number issued in accordance with chapter IX of this code. Each sack/container of unshelled shell-stock must have an identification tag attached and the tag must be kept on file for 90 days from the date the container is emptied.

All establishments that sell or serve raw oysters must display signs, menu notices, table tents or other clearly visible messages at point of sale. This notice must also be displayed on the top of containers of pre-packed raw oysters and on each tag attached to each sack of unshucked oysters. Notice must read as follows:


In the event of a fire, flood, power outage, or similar event that might result in the contamination of food, or that might prevent potentially hazardous food from being held at required temperatures, the person in charge must immediately contact the Health Department.

Once a bulk food package is opened, or the food is taken out of its original container, it must be stored in an insect/rodent proof container with a lid. The bulk container must be labeled with the common name of the product and a scoop with a handle must be provided.

All food and food contact articles, and disposable food contact articles are to be stored a minimum of 6 inches off the floor.

Cooler and freezer facilities must be adequate so that potentially hazardous food is maintained at 41° F or colder in the refrigerator and frozen in the freezer storage. A numerically scaled thermometer must be provided in each cooler or freezer that stores a perishable item.


Hot food storage must be adequate so as to maintain hot foods at the required 140° F or higher. A product thermometer is required to monitor the temperature of hot food. It is also highly recommended that a temperature log be maintained for both hot and cold foods to help ensure the foods have not been exposed to the temperature danger zone, which is between 41° F and 140° F.

Foods shall be prepared with the least hand contact possible.

Cutting boards, prep tables and any other food contact surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before and after each type of food preparation.

Ground meat and other comminuted meats must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 155° F. For 15 seconds.

Poultry and stuffed meats must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165° F for 15 seconds.

All other foods must be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 145 ºF for 15 seconds.

When reheating a food item, it must reach an internal temperature of at least 165° F for 15 seconds.

Failure to follow these temperature guidelines may result in a food borne illness outbreak.

Ice scoops must have a handle and can not be constructed of easily broken material such as glass or thin plastic. The scoop may be left in the ice with the handle exposed or placed in or on a clean dry surface protected from contamination.

Buffet lines must be adequately supplied with enough clean tableware, so that the customer may obtain clean tableware for each trip back to the buffet. A sign must be placed at the buffet prohibiting the reuse of soiled tableware.

All food products on a buffet/salad bar are to be adequately protected by a sneeze guard.

Outer clothing of employees is to be clean.

Employees shall wear effective hair restraints.

No eating (except proper taste testing of food products) is allowed in any food service or food preparation area.

An employee drink must be in a container provided with a tight fitting lid and a straw.

Food contact surfaces shall be easily cleanable, smooth, and free of breaks, open seams, cracks, chips, pits, and similar imperfections, and free of difficult-to-clean internal corners and crevices.

Ventilation hoods shall prevent grease or condensation from collecting on walls and ceilings and from drippage into food or onto food-contact surfaces. Hood, attachments and filters are to be kept clean.

Any food service equipment including ice machines shall not be located under exposed sewer or waste lines.

A three compartment sink is required for the purpose of manually cleaning of utensils and equipment. Each compartment must be supplied with hot and cold water through a mixer faucet. Each compartment must be large enough to submerge the largest piece of equipment to be washed in the sink. The wash - rinse - sanitize method for cleaning must be used. A three compartment is recommended even if a mechanical dishwashing machine is provided.

All food service equipment and surfaces are to be cleaned using the wash - rinse - sanitize method. Approved cleaning and sanitizing agents are required.

Sanitizer test strips are required to test the potency of the chemical solution.

Wiping cloths are to be stored in a sanitizing solution between uses. The container of solution must be stored so that contamination of food products will not occur.

Clean utensils shall be stored or displayed "handles up".

Self-service straws are to be prewrapped or dispensed from a commercial type dispenser.

Clean utensils and equipment are to be air dried before storing. Do not "wet nest".

Equipment should be stored inverted (upside down) where ever possible.

Food equipment, utensils, single service articles and food shall not be stored in toilet rooms or vestibules.

A hose shall not be attached to a faucet unless a backflow prevention device is installed.

If a grease trap is used, it must be sized according the code and so located as to be easily cleanable.

Hand sinks are required in the kitchen, behind a bar and in other location such as a separate food preparation area or ware washing area. The number and location of hand sinks must be appropriate so that the sinks are easily available and accessible to kitchen personnel at all times. All hand sinks must be supplied with soap and approved towels or blowers at all times. Hot and cold water must be provided through a mixer faucet.

Garbage cans used in food preparation and utensil washing areas must be covered when full.

The garbage cans must be durable, kept clean, in good repair; and provided with a tight fitting lid.

Outside storage of unprotected plastic bags or paper bags when used for garbage is prohibited.

Dumpsters are to be placed on a smooth, easily cleanable surface such as concrete or machine laid asphalt.

For new constructions or change of occupancy of an existing building, hot water and a waste drain in required in the dumpster area.

All outer openings to the establishment are to be tightly sealed or screened with 16 mesh screen so as to prevent rodent and insect entry.

All floors in food preparation, food storage, and utensil washing areas, and floors in all walk-in refrigeration units, toilet rooms and vestibules shall be smooth and easily cleanable. Carpeting is prohibited in any food areas, washing areas or any toilet rooms.

Walls and ceilings are to be smooth, easily cleanable and light colored. Walls in food preparation or dish wash areas are to be nonabsorbent.

Studs, joist and rafters shall not be exposed in walk-in refrigeration units, food preparation areas, equipment washing and utensil washing areas, toilet rooms, and vestibules.

A mop sink is required in all establishment permitted by the State Health Department. This requirement is not "Grandfathered In".

The mop sink should not be located in the kitchen or other food prep areas unless it can be so placed that contamination from splashing is highly unlikely. The mop sink may be placed in the toilet room along with the hand sink, or it can be conveniently located outside of the building as long as the use of the sink is not inhibited by distance, steps or any other deterrent to its proper use. If located outside, a cover must be provided. The mop sink must have hot and cold water through a mixer faucet.

Permanent lighting of at least 20 foot candles must be provided in all areas of food preparation, food service equipment and utensil washing areas.

All lights located over, by, or within food storage, preparation, service and display facilities and facilities where utensils and equipment are cleaned and stored shall be shielded or protected.

Toilet rooms are to be mechanically vented to the outside.

Employee clothing and belongings cannot be stored in food preparation, food storage, or food equipment storage area.

Only necessary toxic chemicals may be kept in food establishments.

All toxic chemical containers must be properly labeled at all times.

Toxic chemicals shall not be stored in any manner which may result in the contamination of food, food contact surfaces or equipment.

Premise of the food service establishment must be kept free of litter and debris.

Unnecessary articles shall not be stored in the food service establishment.

Walking and driving surfaces of all exterior areas of the food service establishment shall be treated to facilitate maintenance and minimize dust. These surfaces shall be so maintained as to prevent water from pooling.

Unnecessary traffic through the food preparation and utensil washing areas is prohibited.

There shall be no room within the food service establishment that is used for sleeping or as living quarters.

Clean linens shall be stored in a clean place and protected from contamination until used.

Soiled clothes and linens shall be stored in a nonabsorbent container or washable laundry bag until removed.

Maintenance type of equipment (brooms, mops, and similar equipment) shall be stored in a way that does not contaminate food, utensils, equipment or linens. Mops and brooms shall be hung off the floor between uses.

Live animals, including birds and turtles shall be excluded from within the food service establishment. This exclusion does not apply to service animals, edible fish, crustacea, shellfish, or to fish in aquariums.

No employee or other person shall engage in the practice of "tattooing" within the premise of any food service establishment.