If you own a restaurant, you’re probably well aware of the term ‘contamination‘. It is the worst nightmare of any restaurant owner. Contamination of food due to improper kitchen hygiene standards is a sackable offense in the food industry, thus you must do everything you can to avoid it.
All food handlers are required by law to maintain a high level of personal hygiene, wear protective clothing, and adhere to food hygiene regulations. These things are not optional since they are laws; you must follow them all. Maintaining proper personal and kitchen hygiene when working in a commercial kitchen is very important and should be the first place to start.
But do you know what you should be doing?
The following are the steps you should take to ensure that you are following proper kitchen hygiene guidelines in your restaurant:
1. Always Wash Your Hands
There are so many moments when you should wash your hands! The good principle is that the more often you do it, the better, especially before touching any food.
Hands must be washed after:
- Using the toilet
- Handling raw food
- Coughing, sneezing, eating, drinking or smoking
- Licking fingers
- Every break
- Touching pimples or sores
- Handling waste
- Carrying out cleaning duties
- Changing soiled clothes
- Touching ears, nose, hair, mouth, or other bare body parts
- Handling animals
- Any other unhygienic practice
We recommend using paper towels to dry your hands after washing because they can be disposed of and so bacteria can’t be spread.
2. Dress Properly
Kitchens are hot, crowded, and dangerous environments to work in. Sharp knives, hot ovens, and open fires all increase the danger of injury. When preparing and cooking food, wearing protective clothing protects both your customers and yourself. Meals-safe gloves and hairnets help you prepare food hygienically and keep foreign particles out of your food.
- Aprons should be worn when working with food and when washing dishes
- Do not wear uniforms or aprons outside the food preparation area
- Disposable gloves should be worn when handling easily perishable or high risk foods
- A hat and/or hair net should be worn if working in the kitchen
- Shoes should be fully covered and non-slip
- Work clothes should be regularly washed and free from stains
- Always remember to take off the apron before using the restroom.
3. Avoid Nail Polish, Perfume & Aftershave
Nails should be clean and cut short. Nail polish is rarely a form of contamination but it is asked to avoid because even a flake of nail polish will simply spoil someone’s dining experience.
Wearing nail polish, perfume, or aftershave to serve food may make you feel more attractive, glam, or put-together, but it is both impractical and dangerous.
Strong scents can taint the food, especially if the item has a high-fat content. Who wants to eat a sandwich that smells like Valentino’s most recent fragrance? Only use the spritz for after-work beverages.
4. Groom Hair & Beard properly
Perhaps an obvious one, but make sure your hair isn’t dangling over your face, dipping into food, or falling out around the food establishment! Hair, even if it was washed or slicked back this morning, is a persistent food contamination hazard and should be tied back and out of the way.
- Always wear a hair net or cap in any food production area that completely covers all hair.
- Staff should wear hair restraints such as hairnets, hats, or scarves that can help in keeping hair fall under control.
- Don’t comb your hair in the eating area.
- Keep beards and moustache neat and trimmed.
- Beard restraints are required in any food production area.
5. Leave Accessories at Home
Whether it’s a set of pearl earrings, a locket necklace, a chain, or a wristwatch, wearing jewelry or other accessories in the foodservice sector is a poor idea. These items can readily harbor dirt and bacteria, and they can even create physical contamination if little pieces of precious stone, metal or watch strap fall into the food you’re working with. It’s preferable to leave your accessories at home or in your locker during the day and then put them back on when you get home.
- Refrain from wearing jewellery in the food production area.
- Accessories such as watches and rings should be removed
- Only a plain wedding ring or wedding band is permitted in the Kitchen.
- No necklaces, bracelets, or dangling jewellery are permitted.
- No earrings or piercing that can be removed is permitted.
5. Catch Your Sneezes
Thousands of bacteria and water droplets are released into the air around you when you sneeze. Coughing is the same way. If you don’t use a handkerchief or tissue to capture the droplets, any food close is at risk of contamination.
Can you recall how you felt the last time you were in line at a sandwich shop and the food server sneezed all over the counter? It’s not a pleasant experience. If you can’t get to a tissue fast enough and are ready to cough or sneeze, direct the tissue into your upper arm to keep the droplets from spreading. Then, before continuing to serve meals, always wash your hands.
6. Cover cuts and burns
Cuts, burns, or wounds can be the biggest sources of germs in your restaurant kitchen. Your staff should always be careful to cover-up these scraps and woulds to prevent any possible contamination of the food prepared or served in your restaurant.
- Report or inform the supervisor or sous chef in case of any wounds.
- If you cut a finger, the most important action is to control the bleeding by immediately applying direct pressure to the wound.
- When a burn occurs, it is most important to wash the burn with room-temperature water.
- Consult the in-house hotel doctor for first aid and further treatments.
- Bandage any cut, abrasion, or burn that has broken the skin.
- Cover bandages on hands with gloves and finger cots as appropriate before handling with food.
I hope this article was helpful. Be safe and happy cooking!
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