How clean is your kitchen?
Living in fear of inspectors arriving to inspect your kitchen is an unpleasant and stressful position to be in. If your business involves the preparation and/or sale of food you need to be able to demonstrate that you adhere to strict food laws. You will be inspected regularly by enforcement officers from your local authority who must check that the food is safe to eat. If your commercial kitchen or the methods employed within it are found to be unsafe, a notice will be served. You must comply to the requirements of that notice, by law.
According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), more than 500,000 cases of food poisoning are reported each year
Reports of commercial kitchen owners being fined up to £20,000 for failing to keep their kitchens compliant are all too common. Apart from the financial implications and the damage to your business’s reputation, an unclean kitchen can cause fatal food poisoning. To find yourself published on a list such as Kent’s 15 zero-rated restaurants, is permanent and irreversible. It is almost impossible for any business to recover from such exposure.
Food Hygiene Regulations
According to the Food Standards Agency, the most important food hygiene regulations are:
- Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs
- The Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 (and equivalent regulations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Importantly, you have a legal obligation to be able to demonstrate the steps you are taking to ensure that the food you make or sell is safe. More information is available here.
How clean is clean enough?
We have been encouraged to think that dirt is not bad for us, that we are being too hygienic for our own good. This is definitely not the case when it comes to commercial kitchen hygiene. Every year over a million people suffer a food-related illness in the UK, not all are officially reported. For 500 of these people, it may prove fatal.
You will have heard of “the ten second rule” or, “the five second rule”, maybe you are a little more cautious and for you it’s “the three second rule”. Is dropped food OK as long as it is quickly picked up? Scientific research carried out by Dr Ronald Cutler, a microbiologist at Queen Mary, University of London might have you thinking differently. Dr Cutler’s rigorous tests involved simulating food being dropped onto surfaces artificially contaminated with E. coli. The food was picked up either: immediately, after five seconds or after 10 seconds then analysed.
EVERY PIECE OF DROPPED FOOD WAS CONTAMINATED WITH GERMS, regardless of the time it spent on the surface. No contamination occurred within a control group of foods that were not dropped at all. The take home message is; “clean enough, is not clean enough.”
“The five-second rule has little effect on the amount of bacteria you would pick up from a heavily contaminated surface.”
“The five-second rule has little effect on the amount of bacteria you would pick up from a heavily contaminated surface. If you drop food on a floor, it’s better to put it in the bin rather than your mouth.”
Dr R Cutler
Top Tips to avoid food poisoning from your commercial kitchen
According to the NHS, routinely following these simple steps will dramatically help to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
- Wash your hands
- Wash worktops
- Wash dishcloths
- Use separate chopping boards
- Keep raw meat separate
- Store raw meat on the bottom shelf
- Cook food thoroughly
- Keep your fridge below 5°C
- Cool leftovers quickly
- Respect ‘use by’ dates
General Requirements of a commercial kitchen, the basics
Frequent, thorough and systematic kitchen cleaning alongside an annual deep clean by a professional and reputable kitchen cleaning company should be the minimum standard in any commercial kitchen.
Government requirements are clearly laid out in the FSA’s guide, “Food Hygiene, A Guide for Businesses“.
You must keep your premises clean and maintained in good repair and condition.
The layout, design, construction, site and size of your premises must:
- Allow adequate maintenance, cleaning and/or disinfection.
- Avoid or minimise air-borne contamination (i.e. contamination carried in the air).
- Provide enough working space for you to carry out all tasks hygienically.
- Protect against the build-up of dirt, contact with toxic materials, shedding of particles into food and forming of condensation or mould on surfaces.
- Allow good food hygiene practices, including protection against contamination and, in particular, pest control.
- Provide, where necessary, suitable conditions for handling and storing food while keeping it at appropriate temperatures. Those temperatures should be monitored and, where necessary, recorded.
What kitchen cleaning should involve
In a commercial kitchen, cleaning must go further than merely “surface deep”. Over time, walls, ceilings, fittings and hard to reach places will become coated in grease and provide a breeding ground for bacteria and other microbes.
Every surface needs to be accessed and cleaned thoroughly. Burnt on deposits need to be removed throughout the kitchen. Fittings need to be moved and possibly dismantled to ensure nothing is left uncleaned. This includes: walls, ceilings, floors, fittings, equipment and anything else that belongs in the kitchen. A professional kitchen cleaning company should have the skills and the equipment to ensure this is completed effectively and quickly to ensure compliance and with minimal disruption to your business. The clean should be documented and certificated for your records.
Imagine if you KNEW your kitchen was clean, no fear of being inspected, just the peace of mind of knowing your kitchen had 24/7, surface and air, anti-microbial protection.
BioSweep ® technology can achieve that for you. A regular programme of cleaning in your commercial kitchen is vital for health and safety as well as compliance to the law. As you have seen, scientific research demonstrates that surfaces don’t remain contamination free in the long-term and are an easy way to transmit infection. There is technology available to provide anti-microbial protection for up to one year. BioSweep ® surface defense is an advanced system of photo catalytic oxidation that is non-toxic, suitable for any surface and provides unparalleled broad-spectrum anti-microbial protection against harmful microorganisms such as E. coli and Staphylococcus bacteria as well as viruses and fungi.
The five-stage process takes place within the portable unit.
- HEPA filtration
- Hydroxyl radical production
- Purified O3 and vaporised gas-phase hydrogen peroxide production
- Singlet oxygen and oxyradical plasma production
- Sterilising germicidal UVC radiation
During this process molecular bonds are formed with every surface, protecting the area against microbes 24/7 for up to one year.
Ideal Response is proud to be the exclusive UK provider of BioSweep technology. We have been providing commercial cleaning services since 2001. We have been the chosen provider of kitchens, restaurants, catering facilities, hotels, education establishments and other organisations for over 15 years.
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*Biological indicator Geobacillus stearothermophilus
Ideal Response will work around you and the requirements of your business. Little or no disruption means your business can carry on functioning. The length of time taken for complete deep cleaning and decontamination of your kitchen will vary according to the size and condition of the kitchen. We aim to complete the process in the quickest possible time frame.
✓ Protection against fines
✓ Extended life of kitchen equipment
✓ Increased efficiency of equipment
✓ Reduced maintenance costs
✓ Reduced risk of contamination and infestation
✓ Reduced risk of disease transmission
✓ Reputation for good hygiene is protected
✓ Improved working conditions
✓ Peace of mind
Ideal Response is fully insured
- Certified technicians
- 100% Contamination free guarantee with Surface Defense®
- CHAS accredited
- ISO 9001:2008 (Quality Management System)
- Tailored restaurant and kitchen cleaning according to your needs
- Advice and guidance to support you to maintain high standards
Call the Ideal Response team today on 01622 926 505