Hygiene, in the kitchen, is essential. This is the place where food is handled and prepared. The problem with poor hygiene is that it allows the introduction of bacteria into the food. This can then be consumed by people or simply passed onto them via physical contact.
The result is the bacteria enter open wounds or the respiratory system. Considering there are many food-based bacteria that can cause illness, and in some cases death, it’s important that proper food hygiene rules are observed, especially in the kitchen.
Fortunately, it’s surprisingly easy to maintain good hygiene, you just need to implement the following protocols:
Wash Your Hands
Bacteria can be killed when you wash your hands properly. This means using warm water and soap. Ideally, you should lather your hands with the soap for at least twenty seconds before rinsing the soap off. This will remove the bacteria and ensure your hands are clean enough to handle any food, cooked or otherwise.
It’s important to wash your hands before and after handling food, this minimizes the risk of transferring bacteria.
It’s not just your hands that should be cleaned! You should be using a food-grade disinfectant or antibacterial cleaner to wipe down all the surfaces in your kitchen. This should be done before you use the surface and again as you’ve finished using it.
Again, this will reduce the risk of contamination. But, you also need to wash your food equipment as soon as you’ve finished using it. This will eliminate bacteria and make it ready to use again when needed.
You’ll find it’s worth investing in industrial food machinery like lumixfps.com.au, as it’s easier to maintain and clean, helping you to keep high hygiene standards.
Separate Cooked and Uncooked
One f the biggest risks in the kitchen is handling raw food and then touching cooked food. This can allow the bacteria on the uncooked food to move to the cooked food. It can then be consumed and cause illness.
While this can happen if you are being careless, it can also be a result of accidentally brushing against the uncooked food. That’s why it’s important that cooked and uncooked food should always be kept separate.
This means separate containers for the different foods, storing cooked foods above uncooked foods in the refrigerator, and using separate cooking areas.
Minimizing the chance for the two food types to come into contact will help to ensure bacteria are not spread.
If you’re handling food that needs to be kept chilled then remember that when the food is left out it warms. As the food warms the bacteria inside it will activate and flourish. This increases the likelihood of the food going bad before you get to use it. It can also increase the risk of bacteria surviving the cooking process and causing food poisoning.
That’s why all chilled food should be kept refrigerated at all times, only being removed when you’re about to cook it.
Lead By Example
If you’re working in the kitchen and have others working with you then it’s important to lead by example. This means making sure that you follow all the hygiene procedures and that you are seen to be doing so.
By doing this you’ll encourage others to follow your lead and take hygiene seriously.
Don’t Forget the Dish Cloths
While thinking about the correct hygiene procedures it can be easy to forget about your dishcloths and tea towels. These can actually be the most bacteria-ridden items in any kitchen. That’s because you wipe your hands on them and dry dishes, effectively spreading bacteria.
The only question is what bacteria is on your hands? Following the rules can reduce this risk but it is also important to sanitize your dishcloths regularly and rotate towels.
You should have separate towels for each section of the kitchen and make sure they are properly washed every night.
Don’t forget to include your chopping boards in the end-of-day cleaning cycle. Chopping boards are useful but bacteria and food debris can get caught in the tiny cracks of the board. Sanitizing them ensures bacteria won’t grow.
Clean The Kitchen
The last thing you’ll want to do after a long day in the kitchen is clean up. But, if you don’t you’ll be encouraging bacteria to grow and flourish in all the spaces you haven’t cleaned.
That’s why it’s essential you wipe down all the surfaces with a disinfectant spray at the end of each day. This includes the cooker hoods and other areas that are more difficult to reach. A little effort every day keeps the bacteria away and is much less work than a big spring clean when the health inspector arrives.
When cleaning the kitchen don’t forget the floor. This is where most food is spilled. Not only does it become sticky and potentially a trip hazard, the sticky floor, with food debris, but is also attractive to pests. The last thing you need is a rodent infestation in your kitchen.
To maintain hygiene in your kitchen it’s worth having at least an annual pest inspection. They will identify and deal with any issues you’re facing. But, more importantly, they will offer advice on how to keep the pests out. Again, this is the simplest approach and an effective one. You just need to listen to what the professionals have to say.
A plan for your kitchen and the hygiene issues will help you to tackle all of them and maintain good standards. However, you should also note that a little common sense can go a very long way.
Take the time to consider the actions you perform in the kitchen, where the risks are, and how you can minimize them. If you’re constantly thinking about hygiene then you have a better chance of dealing with the issue and keeping your kitchen bacteria-free.
That’s a good thing when you’re preparing food for others and all it takes is the above simple steps.