In the U.S., educational/training interventions have been widely used to decrease foodborne disease in food service operations with most interventions focusing on improving worker knowledge of safe food handling. The limitation of this approach is that knowledge alone does not influence the adoption of safe food handling practices. And with the CDC estimating that 48 million people get sick from foodborne illness each year, it’s important to understand the significance of a proper sanitation program and how to best develop and execute one in any food service operation.
Understanding the risk factors and levels of cleanliness needed to prevent contamination of food and kitchen equipment is the first step when implementing a thorough food safety program. Identify the types of soils and surfaces in your establishment to determine the proper cleaning and sanitation products to use, how often cleaning must be done to achieve the desired results, and the training needed for your staff from management on down.
Create a Proper Cleaning Plan
Working with your cleaning supplier is a great way to put a highly effective sanitation plan together. A cleaning supplier can help identify any contamination risks within your facility by conducting a cleanliness audit, inspecting everything from the floors and drains, to kitchen equipment and food contact surfaces, among other areas. They can also help ensure your cleaning program is working by measuring trace ATP and surface proteins through regular testing.
Once the risks have been identified, facility managers can create a Master Cleaning Plan, outlining what should be cleaned, how it should be cleaned, when to clean, and who should do the cleaning. This plan should also include details on which cleaning products to use to remove various soil types found on the different surfaces in any food service operation, as well as training procedures and schedules for staff at every level.
Common Cleaning Guidelines
Any sanitation program should include cleaning procedures for the common, and sometimes overlooked, areas found around any commercial kitchen.
Countertops. In a commercial kitchen, countertops are at the heart of the action. Protect against food cross-contamination with regular disinfection and maintenance that can help prevent foodborne illnesses.
Cutting boards. Cutting boards need to be cleaned frequently, including before use, before changing from one food type to another and after food handling is complete. Since these surfaces tend to be scored and scratched, they can harbor food that can lead to bacterial growth.
Dishes, pots, and pans. A main ingredient to a spotless kitchen is the right dish cleaning product. Get your dishes virtually spotless and remove stubborn grease by using a dependable product you can trust.
Floor drains. Bacteria can often be found feeding on food residues in floor drains. These food sources can also attract other unwanted pests. Regular drain cleaning can help keep this in check.
New equipment. Consider the ease of cleaning when purchasing new kitchen equipment, such as ice machines. The more difficult it is to clean, the less likely it will be cleaned consistently or correctly.
The Right Products and Tools
Using the right cleaning products and tools is also imperative when it comes to achieving food safety goals. Multipurpose products can clean a broad range of soils and surfaces, making cleaning easier by reducing the number of products needed and minimizing rework. Multipurpose products also help save time by reducing the complexity of the job, making staff training easier, and simplifying inventory management.
With employee labor accounting for up to 80 percent of cleaning costs, operators can reduce the amount of time and cost to clean a restaurant by using effective cleaning products and putting efficient cleaning processes into place.