How to obtain higher standard of kitchen hygienePizza Marketplace

September is National Food Education Month. Proper cleaning, storage and preparation can prevent foodborne illness and bacterial growth on food.

| by Mandy Wolf Detwiler — Editor-in-Chief, Networld Media Group

September is National Food Safety Education Month. According to the CDC, an estimated one in six Americans contract a foodborne illness in the form of food poisoning each year. Other germs such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens and E. coli can be spread through raw meat, poultry and eggs. Avoiding cross-contamination and making sure staff are cleaning properly — and cleaning the right areas, too — can prevent customers from getting sick.

“If you look at what our food safety assessment specialists are finding, many of the key issues that continue to be common are equipment that may not be clean, and you have two different types of equipment: food contact surfaces or equipment that used with food contact, and there are other devices that would be considered non-food contact surfaces, like the exterior surfaces of things like fridges and fryers and coolers,” Paula Herald, a technical advisor at Steritech, told QSRweb in a phone interview.

Food contact surfaces include anything that is chopped, diced or sliced ​​and can have intricate parts and blades that are difficult to keep clean. Health inspectors often cite dried residue stuck in the parts.

“Anything that contains food debris is a place for bacteria to grow,” Herald said.

Non-food contact surfaces should be cleaned at night if possible, especially any spills that happen throughout the day. Anything with baked-on or stuck deposits should be cleaned well and then kept clean.

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“This is where restaurants need to have a focus day or cleaning night or shift to try and deep clean some of these appliances and exterior surfaces of appliances,” Herald said. She added that some of those areas that are being overlooked are surfaces that don’t come in contact with food that are frequently touched by staff, like handles and knobs. These must be disinfected daily.

“Cleaning focuses on removing organics from food contact surfaces to allow disinfection and removing dirt from non-food contact surfaces to prevent the build up of pathogenic microorganisms,” Francine Shaw, CEO from Savvy Food Safety and TracSavvy, a food safety hazard and training company, said in an email interview. “There is no food for the insects and rodents, so they are not attracted.

“The backs of door handles get gross; it’s one of those areas that’s out of sight, out of mind. They are touched hundreds of times a day by dirty hands – fridge/freezers, walk-in fridge/freezers – but rarely does anyone clean these high touchpoints.”

Another area that gets overlooked is personal belongings and proper storage. Bacteria can be brought in on coats, backpacks, on lunch breaks, on phones; all items that are not required for the work of the employees.

These items should be separated from food preparation and food storage areas. Restaurants should have a designated space – preferably lockers.

“Often fast-food restaurants have very small footprints, but they need to provide a specific place for these items to be kept safe,” Herald said, adding that employees need to be trained to place their personal items in a safe location Put it away from food preparation areas. When employees wear uniforms, a changing room is needed.

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“The 2017 FDA Food Code suggests that street clothing and personal items can contaminate food, food equipment and food contact surfaces. Appropriate storage facilities are required for items such as purses, coats, shoes and personal medication. This means operators should provide lockers or some sort of storage space for employees’ personal belongings,” Shaw said. “During an inspection years ago, I found a can of hairspray and often hand lotion in a kitchen. Both of these led to violations and gave cause to worry about.”

Ice machines are also problematic and are among the most common health code violations. “This violation could potentially result in fines, violation points, or worse illness,” Shaw said. “The number one reason for ice contamination is improper employee handling or improperly maintained ice machines – human error. Cold temperatures don’t kill bacteria and viruses, they slow growth. Ice cream might smell and taste good but still contain dangerous bacteria.”

Walk-in refrigerators are often a problem for bacterial growth and proliferation, particularly condensation issues. Condensed water is usually contaminated with bacteria that can cause either food spoilage or foodborne illness.

“Best to ensure the chiller is serviced frequently or if you have excessive condensate that is not being dealt with by the equipment methods already in place such as “For example, a spill pan or condensation dripping from a pipe, there may be something wrong with the operation of the equipment or the operation of the condenser,” Herald said.

Good practices include keeping food covered and avoiding storing food in areas known to be subject to condensation.

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Soda dispensing nozzles can quickly become unconventional and are often overlooked. “Because the syrup is essentially a sugar solution, it’s an excellent source for the growth of all kinds of unwanted bacteria that like to feed on the sugary solution,” Shaw warned. “Clean these daily; Otherwise, you may find cockroaches feasting on the residue left behind.”

According to Shaw, the most common health violations are:

  • cross contamination.
  • food temperature.
  • Poor personal hygiene – lack of or improper hand washing.
  • Improper storage of food.
  • Use and storage of chemicals.
  • Improper storage of utensils and crockery.
  • Inadequate kitchen hygiene.

Creating a master cleaning plan can help a restaurant survive even the keenest eyes of inspectors.

Mandy Wolf Detwiler is Editor-in-Chief for Networld Media Group and Site Editor for and She has over 20 years of experience in food, people and places.

An award-winning print journalist, Mandy brings more than 20 years of experience to the Networld Media Group. She has spent almost two decades covering the pizza industry, from independent pizzerias to multi-unit chains and every size company in between. Mandy has been featured on the Food Network and has won numerous awards for her coverage of the restaurant industry. She has an insatiable hunger to learn and can tell you where to find the best bits in the country, having traveled and eaten pizza for a living for 15 years.

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