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Published on Tuesday, June 5, 2018

8 Restaurant Kitchen Cleaning Tips To Help Prevent Cross-Contamination

When a customer walks through the doors of your restaurant, there is a set of expectations they are already coming in with. And these expectations exist for good reason - they expect the food you serve at your restaurant to be clean and safe to eat. If it's not, they can get extremely ill and even in certain circumstances, die.

This is because the kitchen can harbor dangerous bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. These can lead to great discomfort if an individual ingests the bacteria, and if the individual is a young child or an elderly adult, these strains of bacteria could potentially be fatal.

Therefore, maintaining a clean kitchen and preventing instances where these bacteria can contaminate your food is absolutely essential.

Here are our commercial kitchen cleaning tips to keep your restaurant kitchen germ-free:

1. Switch out your cutting boards.
One common source of cross-contamination is between raw meat and fresh produce. Raw meat is sweating with bacteria, therefore it's dangerous to use the same cutting board for raw meat as you do for fruits and vegetables. Make sure you use a different cutting board for produce as you do for raw meat. And clean your cutting boards well in addition to switching them out after each use.

2. Clean out your sink as well as your sink drains.
When you place dishes in your sink, the bacteria from the dishes transfers to your sink and down into your drains and garbage disposal. This bacteria can then (1) develop an odor, or (2) transfer to other items and possibly contaminate them. Therefore, make sure to frequently clean and disinfect both the sink and the drain and disposal.

3. Clean inside, outside and behind the fridge and freezer frequently.
Whether you have a simple fridge that staff can reach into or a walk-in cooler or freezer, maintaining its cleanliness is absolutely essential. Make sure that the door is closed when you are not suing it, that the fridge and freezer are maintained at the proper temperature, that food is separated and that the fridge and freezer are regularly disinfected.

4. Wash your hands using the correct method.
Anytime a staff member is about to prepare food or switch from raw meat to produce, and after taking care of a cut, sneezing, handling garbage, cleaning or using the restroom, hand washing is necessary. And it's not simply a quick task of running hands under water with soap. The soap has to actually be lathered for 20 seconds all over the hands, including under fingernails, and hands need to be dried properly. The CDC has a guide on handwashing and we recommend putting up signs or posters on how to properly wash hands.

5. Make sure hand soap dispensers are always stocked.
Of course, in order for employees to keep their hands clean, it's important for them to actually have access to soap! At Dempsey, we have a line of touch-free and manual soap dispensers and refills, as well as towel dispensers and sanitizers.

6. Disinfect and clean surfaces, utensils and appliances.
As imagined, not only can contaminants spread to food from cutting boards, dirty hands, and other contaminated foods, but of course any other surfaces, such as countertops, in your kitchen can get infected. And it's also important to understand the difference between cleaning and disinfection. Cleaning helps remove any visible signs of dirt and food, whereas sanitizing removes actual bacteria. Both are necessary because you can't sanitize a surface with grains of dirt and food on it. This infographic by the national Restaurant Association provides a good example of how to implement both cleaning and sanitization on your countertops.

7. Set requirements for staff's personal hygiene.
It's not just about washing hands on the job. If employees come in having not showered in weeks, with hair full of dandruff, nails clearly rarely being trimmed, and they are coughing and sneezing everywhere, chances are your customers will get sick from the dirt, dandruff and bacteria in their food. Put rules in place for what is expected of your employees when they come into work.

8. Wear professional food service clothing when working with food.
Chef coats, cook shirts and aprons are easy to switch into and out of to prevent contamination between food items. For example, if the juice of a raw chicken gets onto a chef's coat, the cook can easily change out of the old coat and into a fresh one so that contaminant isn't sitting on them, ready to transfer into other food items throughout the work shift. With a professional restaurant uniform service, you can make sure that each food service apparel item your employees put on is hygienic and safe to wear in the kitchen.

Now that you know what restaurant kitchen cleaning steps you need to take to prevent cross-contamination, get started with the supplies you need to run an effective, clean and safe kitchen!

Contact us at Dempsey today at 877-336-7743 for food service apparel rentals, facility services and other restaurant linens!
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