Inspections are classified as the following types:
Monitoring and complaint inspections are normally made on an unannounced basis.
Minimum inspection frequencies are established in a document commonly referred to as the Blue Book (A Common Reference System and Operational Standards for Alberta Regional Health Authority Environmental Health Programs). A comparative hazard assessment is conducted for each food establishment based on factors such as the nature of food preparation, characteristics of the population served, volume of food produced, and the condition of the equipment and facilities. Food establishments are then classified into three groupings: high risk, medium risk, and low risk.
Based on these categories, the Blue Book establishes that food establishments shall be inspected according to the following schedule:
Inspections are conducted to ensure compliance with the Public Health Act Food Regulation and the Food Retail and Foodservices Code. Violations of the regulation and code may be considered critical or non-critical. Critical violations are those that, if left uncorrected, are more likely than other violations to directly contribute to food contamination or food-borne illness.
Critical conditions include the following 14 categories:
All conditions are checked by the inspector during each monitoring inspection. Each monitoring inspection report records the inspector's observation for each critical condition as "compliant" or "non-compliant". Non-critical conditions are shown on the report only if they are "non-compliant".
When a violation is observed, the report specifically describes the violation, the requirement for correcting it, and the public health rationale for the requirement.
When a violation is considered critical, an immediate corrective action is required by the food establishment operator and a re-inspection is conducted within 5 working days. When a violation is considered non-critical, more time is generally permitted for corrective action.
Food establishments are classified in three categories:
Reports are posted for food service establishments only. This represents approximately 70% of all food establishments. The reports for food distribution establishments and food processing establishments may be posted at a later date.
Food establishment inspections are conducted by Public Health Inspectors. Public Health Inspectors generally hold two university degrees: a Bachelor of Science majoring in a subject area such as microbiology or environmental sciences, and an after degree Bachelor of Environmental Health. After a practicum training period, submission of written reports, and an oral examination, candidates are certified by the Canadian Institute of Public Health Inspectors. Certified Public Health Inspectors are appointed by the Palliser Health Region as Executive Officers to carry out the provisions of the Public Health Act and Regulations.
Public Health Inspectors practice a field called Environmental Public Health. They prevent disease and protect health by ensuring safe food, safe water, safe air, and safe environments.