Setting a cleaning procedure and having strict protocol in place is law for any workplace, and your catering business is no different. With so much footfall from your staff, it’s important to maintain your commercial kitchen to meet the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013, as well as making it a safe environment for everybody to work in.
So, whether it’s brushing up on your knowledge of workplace legislation, setting a cleaning schedule or maintaining your floors and counter tops, you can find all of the information you need here. Just read on to find out more.
Consult the relevant rules and regulations
As previously mentioned, having a cleaning plan in place is required by law (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) to protect everybody in your workplace. And, although each business must have their cleaning protocols in writing, how they meet these will be up each individual business owner.
If you’re a small to medium sized business, the Food Standards Agency have resource packs called ‘Safer Food Better Business’ available. These include fact sheets that inform caterers and other food businesses about possible hazards or risks they might come across and how to combat these. But, they also include helpful forms that can give businesses a practical and accountable way of documenting how they’ll execute these procedures.
If you’re a larger catering company, you’re likely to need a more extensive cleaning procedure. With more space to monitor and clean, it’s worth assessing the area and pointing out any hard to reach spots and devising a plan as to how you’ll tackle these. And, if you’re struggling with where to start, various councils will have guidance available for businesses like yours.
Set a cleaning schedule
Your commercial kitchen will no doubt be a high-traffic zone with chefs, servers and management popping in and out constantly. So, it’s important that you give these areas a daily clean to keep the cooking space safe and hygienic.
To make a cleaning plan, you’ll need to know how often you should tend to your equipment and premises. While some commercial kitchen elements, like fridge freezers and ventilation systems, might only need to be cleaned monthly or bi-monthly, others will need a more rigid maintenance schedule. Appliances like ovens and hard surface areas that get used several times a day will need to be cleaned at least once daily to prevent the spread of germs.
While the above is important for the everyday hygiene of your workplace, the law requires all commercial kitchens to be deep cleaned professionally every six months. So, be sure to do this, and keep a record as proof of your health and safety standards.
Colour code to avoid cross-contamination
Colour coding has been an important procedure in the cleaning industry since the late 1990s and is an efficient way to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. The four main colours used to separate the zones within your workplace are red, yellow, blue, and green. And, in general, you should divide your cleaning equipment into four categories:
- Kitchen and food preparation areas – this includes places where food is kept or prepared
- Public areas like hallways and lobbies
- Restaurant and bar
This means, for each of these four areas, you’ll need to have a separate set of cleaning equipment. This should be colour coded to make them identifiable, and as many professional cleaning brushes come in a range of colourful brush heads, you can ensure there’ll be no mix up.
Maintain your rubber floors
If you have rubber floors, it’s key to note as this is a non-absorbent type of flooring, any spills, or crumbs will sit on the surface until wiped off. And, in a professional environment this might call for more specialist cleaning equipment like disk brushes at the end of the day.
Despite this type of flooring being one of the most durable and easy-to-clean types, it still requires some TLC. Start by giving the floor a sweep or hoover before using a mop or disk brushing machine to give it a wash down. In general, kitchen floors should be maintained at least once at the end of each working day. When tending to your floors, warm water with a professional disinfecting detergent will be necessary to give the deepest clean possible and leave your floor with a natural shine. For hard to reach areas, using a J-cloth over the end of a mop handle will ensure you’ve tackled each and every corner of your kitchen, so it’s ready for the next day.
Clean hard surfaces thoroughly
Hard surfaces can be a breeding ground for bacteria and germs, due to their susceptibility to cracks as well as large volumes of water: both of which are perfect environments for these harmful things to thrive. But, your hard surfaces don’t have to be complicated to clean.
Start by removing any loose crumbs or appliances to ensure you can get the deepest clean possible, while reaching areas that might have been inaccessible otherwise. Simply use a sanitising spray to effectively tackle harmful bacteria and common germs, while preserving the appearance of your surfaces. For general use, spraying it straight onto the surface and wiping it with some blue roll will be enough but, if you require a deeper clean, let the spray sit on the surfaces for 10 minutes. Just be sure whoever is responsible for the cleaning is wearing disposable latex gloves to prevent them from spreading germs.
You could even use colour coded chopping boards and ban any food being prepared directly on the surface. This will ensure that any harmful food bacteria is contained to one area, so won’t undo any of your cleaning work.
As someone running a food business, you have a responsibility to stick to health and safety regulations. Take these tips on board, and your commercial kitchen will always be as clean as possible.
by John Armstrong, the director of custom clothing specialist, Custom Planet