There are several reasons why sanitation and safe food handling practices are important in the commercial kitchen.
Firstly, sanitation is a legal requirement, therefore the simplest argument for maintaining a safe, sanitary commercial kitchen is because you are legally required to do so. Health inspectors are commissioned to inspect restaurants every six months or so, to ensure local safety regulations are being followed.
Secondly, proper sanitation helps prevent food poisoning outbreaks. Most of the food-related illnesses that are caused by eating out are the result of unsanitary food handling practices. Having just one case of food poisoning linked to your restaurant is enough to destroy your business, so training employees to follow safe food handling practices is a necessity.
Aside from keeping patrons healthy, sanitation also helps maintain food ‘health’ or quality. Even if customers don’t get sick, storing, preparing or serving food in unsanitary conditions will adversely affect the food quality and taste. Once quality starts to slip, patrons choosing other establishments aren’t far behind.
At Sandwich Baron, working in a sanitary environment is crucial in our service delivery.
Here are a few tips to ensure food, as well as working spaces, remain sanitary and hygienic at all times:
• Sick employees should not be allowed to be on duty and need to be sent home to recover. Sick employees can contaminate the food and there is also the risk of infecting fellow employees.
• Always use colour coded cutting boards when preparing different types of food i.e. red for meat, green for vegetables and white for bread, so that cross contamination does not occur.
• Soak cutting boards and knives in a disinfectant overnight.
• Ensure ingredients that spoil easily are not left outside the fridge for too long
• Ensure your restaurant or store has a pest control programme in place. A simple pest control contract with a reputable operator is encouraged.
• Any staff member with an injury that can cause food contamination needs to be removed from the workstation and either be sent home or given a non- food handling job to perform.
• The store manager/owner should have a comprehensive check list that covers all the food safety aspects. These checks are performed before opening and then again at closing.
In the end, sanitation protects your business. No restaurant or store wants to be known as “the grease pit” or any other unflattering moniker. Keeping things clean and sanitary will gain the trust of patrons, so much so that they won’t have any concern over the standards of your food preparation area.