When operating and managing a commercial kitchen there are various standards and regulations which must be met and upheld. These range from access requirements, food standards, first aid needs and many more. In this article we are going to focus on food standards and in particular, cross-contamination prevention.
What is Cross-Contamination?
Cross-contamination is described as:
“the spread of bacteria around your kitchen, from food to surfaces and from surfaces to food”
Cross-contamination can be dangerous, especially in a commercial kitchen meaning staff and kitchen management should take steps and precautions to ensure it doesn’t occur.
Why is it Dangerous?
A key reason why cross-contamination is so dangerous is that it promotes and enables the movement of bacteria. This in turn can lead to food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses.
Simple ways to prevent cross-contamination
Businesses must instil kitchen rules and regulations by outlining certain perimeters that all staff must observe and follow. The following are a few recommendations for helping to prevent cross-contamination:
- Always wash your hands after touching or handling raw foods and before handling ready-to-eat foods.
- Do not wash meat before cooking it as this will not remove harmful bacteria and could potentially cause germs to splash off the meat onto nearby surfaces.
- In storage areas such as fridges keep raw and ready-to-eat foods separate, ideally on different shelves with raw foods below read to eat food to prevent potential drippage.
- Use different chopping boards and chopping utensils for raw and ready-to-eat food. Equally, ensure they are thoroughly washed after usage before using again.
- Raw food should be covered when stored and use dishes with lips to prevent spillages.
- Make sure bins are positioned away from food preparation and storage areas.
All kitchens should ensure the above recommendations are implemented to prevent cross-contamination.
What products can help your staff prevent cross-contamination?
The above points should help to prevent germs from being spread between raw and ready-to-eat foods but sometimes having products to help staff achieve and remember the rules is useful. We would suggest the following to make it easier for kitchen workers to adhere to the rules:
- Hand Wash Stations – Naturally all kitchens should have an area for hand washing but we’d recommend (depending upon kitchen size) having multiple. We’d certainly suggest having one positioned close to the food prep area to act as a visual reminder for staff to use it after prepping food. Furthermore, it should have unscented, antibacterial hand soap and a hygienic and food-compliant drying solution (such as blue roll).
- Gastronorm – For storing food in fridges, we’d recommend using gastronorms as they are sized to an industry standard. They also feature wide-lipped edges which can help mitigate potential drippage. In addition, there are a lot of gastronorm lids which range including metal, ceramic, plastic, foil and more.
- Colour Coordinated Chef Utensils – Colour coordination has become a significant focus for the catering industry. This method of organising a kitchen and prep area is great for avoiding cross-contamination. When kitchens use colour to differentiate the purpose of utensils it helps ensure there is minimal cross-use for different tasks. Colour-coded knives and chopping boards are a great starting point for adding this system to your kitchen.
- Surface Cleaner – Ensure all staff have access to the surface cleaner so food prep areas can be wiped down regularly during use.
- Bins – Finally, as mentioned positioning a bin away from food storage areas helps prevent the spread of bacteria around a kitchen. One great place for bins is under the counter as this keeps them out of the way of not just food areas but also staff meaning they will not hinder the natural movement of workers around the kitchen.
Cross-contamination is a potential danger all kitchens should actively try to mitigate. Follow the above advice to protect your customers and your business from the impact cross-contamination can incur. For kitchen cleaning equipment or chef, utensils visit our online shop for a vast and in-depth product range.