To ensure restaurant food safety, one of the most important things to do is to keep the kitchen as clean as possible to prevent bacteria growth, which can easily transfer to the food that's being prepared. However, the summer months provide some additional difficulties when it comes to keeping a kitchen clean, and only through modern, scientifically proven cleaning methods can business owners stand a chance at avoiding dangerous conditions in the kitchen.
Bacteria Thrive in the Summer
When it gets warmer outside, it naturally gets warmer inside, even within spaces that are air conditioned. In kitchens, when hot appliances are constantly adding to the heat of the space, this means that the temperature can quickly rise to levels that are ideal for bacterial growth. According to a WHO report, several of the bacteria associated with food-borne illness, such as enterohemorrhagic E. coli, multiply the most when the temperature is 37°C, or 98.6°F.
Even if the air in the kitchen isn't exceptionally warm or humid, the conditions around the cooking appliances or on the floor can still be in this zone. This means that any contaminants in the area become a breeding ground for bacteria, which can then become airborne and transfer to the food that is being prepared. This situation will often lead to food poisoning, which will cost the restaurant through lost business, poor reputation, and in extreme cases, legal fees.
Summer can also be a dangerous time for restaurant food safety because of the uptick in business. As the restaurant gets busier, more and more food prep has to be done ahead of time. This can result in a situation where food sits unrefrigerated and uncooked for far longer than it should be, allowing bacteria to transfer to the food and explode in number before it is served to customers.
Achieving Restaurant Food Safety through Cleaning
The most important step in keeping your employees and customers healthy is to keep the kitchen as clean as possible. This sounds easier than it is, however, as most businesses continue to use antiquated tools like mops and rags to clean a kitchen, when in fact these tools do little to remove the contaminants from surfaces and grout lines, creating a breeding grounds for bacteria.
Even if the mop uses a new, microfiber head, it lacks the agitation required to clean deep into the tile and grout, so while the floor may look and smell clean, bacteria can continue to grow on the surface. These tools also make it difficult to clean areas above the floor, like the lower edges of the walls and the front or sides of cooking appliances, meaning that many workers will often simply forego cleaning these areas.
The key is a cleaning system that actually removes contaminants with a powerful vacuum to ensure that they don't stay around. The best solutions, like the Kaivac OmniFlex Dispense-and-Vac, ensure that the floors are completely clean while making the cleaning process easier on your employees. Not only will this make the kitchen cleaner and safer, but it will also help prevent bacteria from growing, becoming airborne, and contaminating food.
The summer months can be a lucrative time for a restaurant, but if the kitchen isn't kept clean and proper food safety isn't adhered to, the summer can also be extremely costly. Prevent the situation from getting out of control by ensuring that your kitchen is as clean as possible at all times, especially in the heat and humidity of summer.
To learn more about the importance of removing contaminants in commercial kitchens, check here.