Hidden hygiene issues in food service
And what you need to do to keep the kitchen clean
There's no question about it: if you go to a restaurant or café, you expect it to be clean. That is just part of creating a pleasant atmosphere. Even with a perfectly set table and a menu curated to be delicious, just a mark on the table or a plate that is not quite clean can ruin a diner's mood. They are sure to wonder what the kitchen is like, if that is the state of the table or plate.
Every restaurateur worth their salt will therefore pay close attention to keeping everything clean and hygienic – the table, the bar and the food preparation areas in the kitchen. That effort is not just for the benefit of the customer; it is a legal requirement.
Whether your run a café, high-class restaurant or the little bistro at the end of the road, all kids of potential hygiene problems lurk in the kitchen. Very often, they are not obvious at first glance or perhaps completely invisible to the naked eye. And they hide where you don't suspect. Do you think that your professionally equipped kitchen is hygienically clean? Let's take a closer look...
HACCP hygiene standards
Hygiene is everything in food preparation. Working in food production or preparation means complying with a long list of regulations. In many countries, companies are only allowed to process or sell food if they comply with HACCP guidelines. HACCP is a quality standard for the entire food industry – from producers to hotel kitchens. Further information is available here.
Regular washing has limited benefits
These bacteria can be a significant health risk, especially for people with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly or people with health conditions. They are invisible to the naked eye but they get everywhere: across worktops and knives, and ultimately finding their way into the food. The researchers found that carefully wringing out and drying sponges or even putting them through the washing machine will only help with hygiene to a certain extent. These measures kill or remove many bacteria in the short term but later on, even higher concentrations of pathogenic bacteria were detected in sponges that were cleaned regularly, that is compared to harmless bacteria. It seems that the harmful pathogens are able to kick start again, multiplying faster and using the ‘vacant’ space in the sponge to spread. The scientists conclude that kitchen sponges should therefore be replaced at least once a week or even more frequently.