It’s the often humorous cliché that’s anything but funny when it happens to anyone working in a food service or catering environment – a surprise visit from the local health and hygiene department. Of course, things like this don’t happen quite as often as the movies would have us believe and nor are such visits nearly as dramatic, but what is nonetheless true is the way in which those found not be in compliance with all regulatory standards can be fined heavily, or even shut down.
All of the above should prompt any responsible kitchen manager or restaurant operator to ask themselves that all-important question – how sure am I that this working environment is indeed up to scratch? Chances are you won’t know exactly what’s going on across every last square millimetre of your kitchen, so how do you think you would fare if the whole place was indeed scrutinised from top to bottom?
According to the kitchen duct cleaning experts at Spettro.net, the vast majority of business owners working in such industry areas do indeed put incredible time and effort into ensuring that their places of work are spick and span. But at the same time, vast numbers perpetuate one of a few extremely common oversights, which despite being minor in nature are just the kinds of things that can lead to bacterial contamination, illness and a generally poor score-cardwere you to suddenly face an inspection.
So, for the sake of your employees, your customers and of course your business as a whole, here’s a quick overview of the five most commonly practiced poor cleaning habits across professional kitchens in the UK:
1 – Kitchen Electronics
First of all, have a think about the kinds of gadgets and electronics there are in the kitchen – anything from an electric tin opener to a blender to a telephone or even a computer. Now, ask yourself how often you reckon your employees wash and sanitise their hands prior to using any of these. And for that matter, how about when you use them? The trouble here is that while it’s commonplace to practice good hygiene habits prior to handling food, the rules often go out of the window in other areas. So, when you imagine how much bacteria and germ build-up is being thrown the way of your BOH electronics each day, you have yourself a prime example of a hazard just waiting to bite you in the rear-end.
2 – Extraction Ducts and Filters
The problem with extraction ducts and filters is the way in which most businesses assume that if they’re calling in the pros to carry out a deep clean once every six months, that’s all the care that’s needed. It really isn’t, which is exactly why modern systems are made in a manner that makes filters easy to remove and clean. Your fans might work brilliantly and your ducts may stay nice and clean, but at the same time your filters may become unusable, there may be debris or mould collecting in the pipes or perhaps you’re about 24 hours from an infestation breakout. If you don’t regularly check your ducts, you have no way of knowing.
3 – Menus, Cards and Table Accessories
If you store your menus, table cards and other such staples in the kitchen, ask yourself about how safely and hygienically you store them. Or better yet, do you sanitise each and every one of them on a regular basis, or do you allow all those customer coughs and sneezes simply to stick around and spread? Yes, it’s a nasty thought, but one you should factor into your daily hygiene regimen.
4 – Handles and Controls
Going back to the same area as that of kitchen electronics now, chances are that your staff will have neither the time nor the inclination to wash and sanitise their hands each and every time they want to adjust the oven’s temperature, pull out a drawer or open any doors within the kitchen. As such, it’s inevitable that these will become breeding grounds for all manner of nasty things you really wouldn’t like to have spreading all over your restaurant.
5 – Condiment Containers and Wracks
Last but not least, a quick wipe of the condiment containers and wracks once a day might seem like enough, but when you think about how many dirty hands have been all over them even in the average lunchtime sitting, you should be able to work out how important it is to sanitise them properly. Shy of the cutlery itself, very little on the table sees quite as much use and abuse as the condiments and the wracks they sit in, so be sure not to overlook just how necessary thorough and regular cleaning is.