One of the most vital considerations when running a food business is cleanliness and hygiene. If a company fails to take food hygiene into account, not only could it lose its Food Hygiene Rating and reputation, it also runs the risk of making customers seriously ill.
We recently talked about the need for cleaning catering equipment, but here’s our guide to cleaning food preparation areas and keeping customers safe:
The importance of preventing cross-contamination
Cross-contamination can pose a real risk for both staff and customers. It happens when bacteria is spread between food, surfaces or equipment and is usually the result of poor food preparation hygiene and ineffective storage.
There are a multitude of practices that need to be considered in order to fully prevent cross-contamination, from washing your hands thoroughly to keeping raw and ready-to-eat foods separate. One of the most effective prevention measures involves cleaning preparation areas.
How to clean food preparation surfaces effectively
Cleaning food preparation surfaces needs to be carried out in two stages:
- Use a cleaning product and warm water to remove visible dirt from the surface before rinsing the cloth or sponge
- Disinfect the surface by using a suitable disinfectant and following the instructions for that particular product
It’s equally important to clean equipment, taps, sinks, door handles and switches frequently as these areas are prone to germs and contamination.
To further reduce the risk of contamination, it’s widely advised that you use different cutting boards and utensils for the preparation of different types of food. A colour coded system can be a good way of distinguishing which tools are for which foods. For example, you could use red cutting boards and red-labelled knives for the preparation of raw chicken and green tools when preparing raw vegetables.
Minimising risk of pests
Pests such as mice and cockroaches can wreak havoc on a business and so it’s vital that you keep your premises clean and avoid doing anything that could encourage pests to make your business their new home.
One of the most common causes of a pest problem is when a business fails to clean the kitchen floor effectively. If you let crumbs and scraps of food accumulate on the floor, this can attract pests and spiral out of control. Make a habit of cleaning any spillages immediately after they occur and clean the floors of your food preparation areas at the end of each day.
A mop and bucket can do the job but you may save a considerable amount of time and see an improvement in quality by using industrial cleaning equipment.
If you’re concerned that the cost of such tools could cause a dent in your budget, it may be worth looking into an industrial cleaning equipment hire service. You’ll get access to the cost-effective tools you need without the price tag.
Deep cleaning your premises
Although it’s important to clean food preparation areas and floors daily, it’s worth conducting a regular ‘deep clean’ by pulling equipment such as fridges and cupboards away from the wall and cleaning the floor underneath. Deep cleans can be carried out weekly or monthly depending on the size of your business and the overall cleanliness of your premises.
Good food hygiene within your business is not something you can opt out of. It’s essential in order to protect customers, achieve a good Food Hygiene Rating and maintain your company’s reputation. By following our guide and cleaning food preparation areas thoroughly, you can abide by the law and keep customers safe.