Keeping commercial kitchens clean and the public safe
America’s regulatory system for restaurant food safety dates back to 1934, when the first ‘Restaurant Sanitation Program’ was launched by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Public Health Service in order to reduce the risk of food-related sickness caused by certain bacteria, viruses and parasites.
These voluntary regulations introduced a grade-based system addressing many of the food safety concerns still seen today, including staff handwashing and hygiene, refrigeration of perishable goods and cleanliness of commercial kitchen areas.
Legislation evolved over the next six decades, eventually becoming the FDA’s Food Code in 1993, with the latest edition in 2017 describing foodborne illness as “a major cause of personal distress, preventable illness and death, and avoidable economic burden.”
With an estimated 48 million illnesses, 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths related to foodborne diseases in the United States every year, how do commercial kitchen operators improve and maintain standards of surface cleanliness? And with these fast-paced environments typically operating under severe time pressures, how can the cleaning of equipment and surfaces be performed quickly and efficiently without compromising hygiene standards?
As part of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) management system, many operators turn to wall-mounted cleaning and rinsing stations for a solution that is both convenient and effective, with systems ranging from single to multi-product versions that enable the application of a sanitizer as well as detergent.
By delivering automatic and continuous dilution of the desired quantity of chemical, spray stations enable equipment, walls and floors in hygiene-critical applications to be efficiently cleaned, rinsed and disinfected. These systems, as well as covering a broad area via adjustable spray nozzles, enable the operator to clean awkward, hard-to-reach areas that otherwise may be neglected or take time to access and clean properly.
The majority of spray systems require only a main water source, meaning operators can avoid the expense of installing an electrical connection while enhancing the application’s safety. Meanwhile, it’s common for these units to be fitted with a venturi, which means no moving parts and a simplified maintenance requirement.
Depending on the nature of soiling, many operators choose cleaning systems that allow foam solutions to be applied. Despite the requirement for a compressed air supply, these systems deliver a product that clings to the surface, providing extended contact time for superior cleaning results. Foam also offers a clear visual indicator of which surface has already been treated, which allows users to avoid applying chemical to the same area, saving both time and product.
An important consideration when selecting a spray station is the nature of soiling, as the type of chemical to be used and required pressure will vary. For example, the most common soils, which include carbohydrates such as sugar, starch and cellulose, are relatively easy to remove. However, proteins such as meat, milk and eggs can be more stubborn due to changes in heat and pH, which can alter the food’s structure and bind it to other molecules, making it insoluble.
Along with being constructed of materials approved for food contact in accordance with HACCP systems, modern spray stations tend to benefit from a minimal footprint and built-in hose storage, meaning they can save space and be unobtrusive, which can result in a reduction of surface cleaning time due to their ease of access.
Ideal materials for modern spray stations include a brass nickel-plated body to provide a high level of robustness (essential in an environment where impacts are common), polypropylene venturi to reduce replacement frequency, and multi-layer food-grade hose and spray gun with anti-thermal shock capacity for comprehensive reliability.
By selecting a system that is proven to maximize the efficiency of chemical consumption, users are able to reduce not only detergent but water usage, helping to lower both environmental impact and operating costs for a long-term, sustainable solution to surface cleaning.
The Hidden Kitchen Hygiene Villain That Is Grease
Despite the challenges that come with grease removal, it is crucial to keep grease under control to maintain a safe and clean kitchen. Grease buildup puts kitchen staff at risk and can potentially lead to issues regarding cleaning regulations and standards. Fortunately, there are solutions that not only keep a kitchen free from grease buildup but do so efficiently and effectively.
Traditional grease removal products can be highly-caustic and require extra protection for eyes and hands. Additionally, current methods often involve a time-consuming, multi-step process. New grease control innovations provide easy-to-use solutions to clean up grease around the kitchen with ease. Single-use grease removal wipes offer an efficient and safe way to streamline the grease removal process.
Pre-moistened disposable wipes are no-rinse and non-caustic, making grease removal a one-step process that is safe for kitchen staff to complete without additional protection. Additionally, wipes can leave behind a protective layer with each wipe that can help cut future cleaning time by 45 percent after only one use.
Providing your kitchen staff with the best tools for grease removal helps you save time and create a safer working environment.