Maintaining good hygiene standards is a must in the food industry
If you run a commercial kitchen or food business, it is absolutely critical to maintain good hygiene standards not only for your reputation, but to adhere to UK and European legislation. Any slip ups and you could have a serious incident on your hands which carries harsh repercussions.
It’s perfectly understandable to expect the food industry to have have extremely stringent hygiene rules. Food is regularly stored, handled and served to paying customers who expect you to ensure their food arrives to the plate as carefully as possible.
However, with the increase in demand from consumers eating out in the 21st century, many business fail to stay on top of their obligations of deep cleaning surfaces to remove the build up of grease, oils and grimes which harbour viruses and bacteria and can lead to extreme illness and in some cases, even death. Good hygiene in commercial kitchens should never be taken lightly.
Knowing Your Responsibilities
If you own a food business, your very first priority must be about implementing cleanliness, hygiene and food storage regimes that minimise the risks of contamination.
With so much food and activity taking place in a commercial kitchens, any neglect can lead to a swift decline in standards where the environment becomes a hive for food contamination, debris, pests and bacteria. Failure to recognise this in the era of the “Scores on the Doors” system will inevitably lead to legal action or worse, the closing down of your business.
A good reputation for great food takes years to build yet can be destroyed in an instant if a bout of food poisoning or an infestation of vermin occurs and word gets around.
Why would any sane business owner take this risk?
Putting Procedures in Place
Whether you’re new to the food business or consider yourself a seasoned professional, it’s never too late to learn about the importance of maintaining high standards of cleanliness throughout your premises, and not just the kitchen area.
Staff training forms a critical part of that process and ensuring they understand and follow a hard and fast set of rules will go a long way to preventing any disasters.
All kitchen staff should be made perfectly aware that at the end of each service; surfaces, appliances and utensils should all be cleaned to the same exacting standards, day in, day out. Regular cleaning regimes should always include items such as:
- ovens & microwaves
- hobs & hot plates
- extractor hoods & filters
- deep fat fryers & steam ovens
- dishwashers, sinks & drying surfaces
- cupboards & storage containers
- utensils, crockery & trays
- refrigerators & freezers
- floors, work surfaces, walls & backsplashes
What most businesses owners and inexperienced kitchen staff fail to realise is that dirt, grime and bacteria can in many cases be airborne and thus, can travel and settle across multiple places. Therefore, the list above is not finite and certainly is not exhaustive. By implementing daily cleaning routines, you take steps to massively reduce the probability of problems occurring and ensure that deep cleans and equipment last longer and produce, good quality, fresh tasting food.
The most common place that gets overlooked and forgotten to clean is the kitchen duct extractor system. Whether you run a small canteen or pub, or a full scale restaurant or hotel, this is the most likely place where your troubles will start.
Building insurance firms will demand you have your kitchen duct extractor system de-greased and cleaned at regular intervals. Failure to comply will render your insurance invalid if you were to have a fire, so it’s critical that you have procedures in place to get this done as part of your regular cleaning regime.
UK laws demand that a commercial kitchen is deep cleaned once every 6 months however, if you want to maintain good practices and set high standards, you should aim to have this done far more regularly.
The fact is, regular cleaning in a commercial kitchen isn’t a choice and is just as important before you serve food as well as afterwards. Take cleaning your kitchen seriously and you’ll undoubtedly produce far better food and have very happy customers.