Keeping a commercial kitchen clean and free from cross-contamination is essential for the health of both workers and customers. A poorly maintained work area and storage system can cost businesses dearly. Here we have written a small kitchen cleaning guide to maintaining floors and surfaces, and keeping fridges properly maintained.
Kitchen Cleaning Tips
After touching any food produce, especially meat and fish, always thoroughly wash hands with antibacterial handwash before touching anything else. This will help to reduce the chances of cross-contamination between foods, or inadvertently contaminating worktops, door handles and other surfaces.
The same rule applies to anything else which may have come into contact with produce – such as crockery, chopping boards, work station tops, pans, trays and utensils. For anything intricate which needs washing, always dismantle and clean each individual part – you will be surprised just how dirty things can get!
For optimal efficiency when cleaning utensils and crockery, we would recommend the use of a dishwasher if one is available.
For surfaces and worktops, there are a number of kitchen cleaning products available which are designed as antibacterial agents. These will not only leave surfaces gleaming clean, they will also eliminate any dangerous bacteria which could be lurking.
Floors can be tackled using a mopping system and suitable cleaning agent, with additional brushes for harder to reach areas such as corners.
Following these tips for kitchen cleaning should lead to a hygienic and fresh looking finish throughout the room, with surfaces that look good enough to eat off!
Some, but not all foods require refrigeration: Foods such as milk, desserts, ready meals, and cheese are the main concerns. If left unrefrigerated, harmful bacteria can multiply exponentially at mind boggling rates! At so called “ideal” temperatures, bacteria can multiply every 10 minutes or so.
Failing to keep food refrigerated, and thus increasing bacterial levels – can lead to food poisoning which can be costly to any business.
There are steps you can take in order to ensure harmful bacteria doesn’t hamper your business:
- Create a regular rota for cleaning the fridge, both internally and externally.
- Ensure fridge temperatures are kept below 5c. If you’re unsure of your fridges temperature you can purchase a thermometer to help.
- Tightly cover all foods prior to storage, either by wrapping them up, or keeping them in air-tight containers. Leftovers can also be stored in this manner, but should be consumed within 2 or 3 days.
- Any food past its use by date should be immediately discarded.
- Do not over-encumber your fridge. By packing too many items in there you will prevent air circulation from being effective enough and temperatures will be affected as a result.
Under no circumstances should you ever put hot or even lukewarm foods in the fridge – by doing this you will raise the internal temperature, and run the risk of spoiling the entire contents of the fridge as a result. Allow any warm or hot foods to cool down to room temp first before placing in there.
Do you know where stuff should go in your fridge?
It’s important that you store food in the correct place in your fridge to prevent germs from raw foods contaminating cooked/ready-to-eat foods.
The above illustration shows the most common and widely followed storage hierarchy for foods in a fridge.
Top Shelf: Dairy products
Second Shelf: Cooked and deli meats
Bottom Shelf: Raw meats
Draws: Fruit and vegetables.
Keep the following tips in mind:
- Raw meats should be stored on the bottom shelf, and covered adequately. This stops any dripping onto products below, causing cross contamination with harmful bacteria and germs, and the shelf should always be thoroughly cleaned with an antibacterial cleaner afterwards.
- To safely thaw any frozen meats, you can either place inside a covered container on the bottom shelf of the fridge, or use your microwaves defrost setting (ensuring no ice crystals remain in the thawed meat prior to cooking).
- Foods such as dairy produce, cooked and deli meats, and other packaged foods and leftovers should be safely stored and covered on shelves above raw meat and poultry.
- Safely storing food in the correct manner will help to prevent the spread of germs from from raw to ready to eat food.
Freezing and Defrosting
When storing meats and other foods for freezing, always make note of the freezers star rating, which goes up from one to four stars. These stars indicate how long frozen food can be kept before becoming unusable.
* 1 week
** 1 month
*** 3 months
**** 3 months or longer
Ideally, a freezer should be at a temperature of -18ºC.
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