Tips to Keeping Your Commercial Kitchen Clean: Part 2
In the first of this two-part series we discussed a few tips on how to keep your commercial kitchen clean. In this next part, we will continue the discussion.
#4 Keep Staff From Spreading Disease
As required by federal law, all kitchen staff should be required to cover all hair at all times, including mustaches and beards. Kitchen staff should keep hair tied back and covered with a hair net at all times; an additional hat helps to keep hair from falling loose. Aprons used by kitchen staff should never be worn outside of the kitchen. The purpose of the apron is to capture food-borne juices and keep bacteria from getting on to staff clothing and spread to the outside world, as much as it is meant to protect food and cooking surfaces from whatever may be on kitchen staff clothing. Be sure that aprons are cleaned regularly and in good repair. Provide hooks near the entry of the kitchen for staff to hang their aprons when coming and going. Hands should be cleaned thoroughly to the elbow with anti-microbial soap and gloves should be worn. Constantly remind staff that gloves are meant to protect the consumers of the food being prepared from anything on staff hands, this means that they should not be opening doors, handling utensils, or scratching their face while wearing gloves that handle food. Gloves should be changed between every customer’s food and if soiled. Hands should be washed regularly, regardless of whether or not they are soiled or if gloves are used. Staff should always step back from food and cough or sneeze into their elbow.
#5 Use Germ Resistant Materials
To help reduce the spread of disease in your commercial kitchen, start out using bacteria resistant materials to begin with. Wood countertops and cutting surfaces, while classically beautiful, also soak up juices from food. This is particularly dangerous when handling raw meats. Marble or steel countertops are much more ideal as they are not porous and don’t absorb liquid or harbor bacteria. Use stainless steel kitchen racks so that if food is spilled, it will not soak in and it can be easily cleaned. Opt for stainless steel mixing bowls and cooking utensils over plastic or rubber that can readily break down or be compromised with regular scraping, cutting, and cleaning.
#6 Clean Commonly Overlooked Areas
Some common areas that are overlooked in commercial kitchens are sink faucet heads, floor drains, backsplashes, and air vents. Sink faucet heads are easy to unscrew and scrub and should be done at least monthly to ensure the water flowing through them is clean and free of rust and mold. Floor drains can be unscrewed and cleaned regularly as well. Although floors may be regularly mopped, the floor drain is where all the dirty water travels down and the drain entrance is the last place to dry. The space between the drain and the floor itself can quickly mold. Backsplashes are a common place where grease and water splatters. Although it may be wiped down regularly, if there is grout, food can get caught in the porous material and begin to mold. Air vents usually experience a buildup of dust and other air contaminants. When the air-conditioning or heat turns on, it can force all that dust onto surfaces below which include food preparation areas, food, and staff airway. Make sure that air vents are dusted regularly and wiped down with warm water to ensure clean breathing!
Keeping your commercial kitchen clean is important to the health of your employees and the patrons consuming your delicious food. When foodborne illness is linked to your establishment, you can quickly lose credibility in the eyes of the community. Make sure your kitchen is as clean as it can be by using these tips. If you are in the market for stainless steel commercial cooking materials, contact us at Schaumburg Specialities!