In the catering business, reputation is everything – environmental health visits can occur without warning so it’s imperative that stringent hygiene standards remain consistent. Headlines about dirty kitchens are never a deal-breaker for attracting customers, so applying the principles of kitchen cleanliness is essential for respected restaurant businesses. The good news is that adhering to the principles isn’t complicated – rather, they’re a combination of common sense and an understanding of the contamination process. Quality restaurant designers like Dawnvale can play an important role in creating kitchens that meet the highest hygienic standards. Check out the following tips to keep your kitchen a healthy haven for success.
Food safety basics
Food poisoning is no joke – and it can prove lethal in some instances, citing examples like salmonella and E. coli. The foremost principle to consider is the avoidance of cross-contamination into foodstuffs, utensils and other kitchen equipment. What exactly is cross-contamination? It’s when harmful bacteria/pathogens from food come into contact with hands/utensils and other equipment. Bacteria and other pathogens usually contaminate via raw meats/seafood, vegetables, and unwashed hands. Hand-washing is one of the most effective methods to avoid cross-contamination – it’s simple and cheap! Keep in mind these 3 rules for hand-washing.
- After using the loo – every time.
- Whenever entering/leaving the kitchen area.
- Touching/handling raw food.
Raw foodstuffs like meat should always be stored separate from other food, on the bottom shelves of fridges. Make use of dishes with a lip design – this will prevent leakage/spillages. There are no exceptions to this rule, and it’s important that refrigeration systems are in good working order. Appropriate temperature control is essential in killing bacteria – raw foodstuffs contain a high number of contaminants so meat should be cooked thoroughly. Different foods bring their own risks – seafood, eggs, raw meat – but the safety principles remain the same.
- Bacteria are killed at 75 degrees Celsius or more.
- Storing food at 45 degrees Celsius or more limits bacteria growth – essential when cooling/defrosting/displaying food.
Good hygiene isn’t optional
Cleaning kitchen/cooking utensils and equipment throughout the food preparation/storage process is integral to effective hygiene. This means using different, usually color-coded, chopping boards, and washing hands/utensils at each prep stage. With hot water, utilize quality cleaning products that are designed for kitchen environments, and adhere to the clean-as-you-go rule. Everything needs to be sanitized on a regular basis – items like cutlery and chopping boards must be cleaned after use, with bigger items such as fridges and storage units on a weekly basis.
In any kitchen, it’s everyone’s responsibility to maintain premier hygienic standards. Public safety is protected by legislation – for example, The Food Safety Act  has various enforcement powers. By applying the basic hygiene principles and understanding the cross-contamination process, customer safety is maintained. This is essential for long-term business success within a competitive industry.