Safety is a matter of concern when it comes to commercial kitchens. Since this is the area of a commercial food establishment where the food is being handled, prepared, and cooked, it is important to ensure some safety and hygiene standards when it comes to food, kitchen staff, and equipment. Commercial kitchen planners work alongside commercial food establishments to ensure all safety protocols, healthy and hygiene protocols are enforced in the commercial kitchen area. Because one does want their customers falling sick due to unmet hygiene standards from the food they just consumed for your restaurant.
That is why there are core areas associated with safety and hygiene standards that every commercial kitchen planner recommends to commercial food establishments that need to be followed to the T.
Let’s analyze them in detail:
1) Food safety
This safety measure refers to preparing, cooking, and serving fresh food without it getting contaminated, which can further lead to foodborne illnesses in customers.
Food establishments with commercial kitchens must be vigilant in the handling, storing, cooking, and serving of food to their customers.
Here’s how commercial kitchens practice food safety:
- It is ensured that the chef and kitchen staff that directly handle the food, must wash their hands at regular intervals to avoid the transfer of contaminants in the food. Wearing gloves and aprons is recommended while handling food items.
- Ready to eat food and raw food must be kept separately at all times during the preparation phase. Thus, it is necessary to allocate separate areas for food prep and food cooking.
- Ideally, refrigerating equipment should have a temperature of 40 F or below and freezers should keep food products at 0 F or below. A proper cooling technique is followed since a lot of foodborne diseases are due to improper food cooling. Foods are reheated at 165 F to prevent any form of contamination. Foods must not be left at room temperature for prolonged periods. To ensure that the right temperature is reached, food thermometers can be used with thorough cleaning done before and after they are used to prevent cross-contamination.
- Tracking food quality is important at every step. If the food (unprepared or cooked) shows signs of spoilage, it should be discarded immediately.
2) Kitchen staff health & hygiene
Since food is going to be handled by the kitchen staff, their personal hygiene needs to be maintained to avoid transfer and contamination of food. Here how it’s possible:
- Kitchen staff and chefs should wear clean uniforms, aprons, and hats during the entire process of handling, preparing, and cooking the food.
- Closed shoes with socks are recommended for the kitchen staff while working in the commercial kitchen space. It is best to avoid open shoes or slippers in the kitchen space.
- Hair must be kept clean and tied up by the kitchen staff and chef. Also, it’s recommended to wear appropriate headgear to avoid hair from falling into food. The same principle applies to fingernails, they must be kept short and clean to avoid contamination of the food.
- It is recommended that the kitchen staff and chefs avoid wearing jewelry, watches, accessories in the commercial kitchen space.
- It is best to avoid smoking, coughing, sneezing, blowing the nose, or wearing strong scents/perfumes/aftershave in the kitchen area.
- While tasting food, kitchen staff must attempt this with a spoon or cutlery and avoid using bare hands for the same.
- In case of a finger cut or wound, it should be immediately taken care of by applying antiseptics and a bandage to cover the wound. First kid boxes are essentials. In case a kitchen staff is feeling unwell they should be asked to stay at home till they fully recover and avoid passing on the illness to the other members of the kitchen staff.
3) Cooking Equipment Safety
The following points discuss how cooking equipment safety can be ensured in a commercial kitchen:
- Operate kitchen equipment only after thoroughly understanding how it operates and for the same a demo can be requested from the company supplying the equipment. Also make sure, that before using it, make sure the equipment is off before plugging it in and starting it. Kitchen equipment that is not in use must be turned off.
- It is recommended to wear safety guards while handling choppers, mixers, and food processors. When handling hot equipment, oven mitts and arm guards are recommended to be worn by the kitchen staff. Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothes that can be prone to get caught in kitchen equipment.
- A routine check of all kitchen equipment should be done by a kitchen supervisor. In case of any issue noticed, it should be rectified by calling the concerned company that supplied the kitchen equipment for repairs.
- Never use the same kitchen equipment for raw and cooked foods without thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting them first. Cleaning and sanitizing of kitchen equipment are mandatory after every use.
4) Cleaning equipment checklist
Here’s a checklist of all the cleaning products and equipment required in a commercial kitchen:
- Cleaning cloths
- Cleaning sponges and scourers
- Cleaning mops
- Vacuum cleaner
- Griddle brush
- Drain cleaners
- Antibacterial handwash
- Floor cleaners
- Beverage machine cleaning products
- Deep cleaning equipment:
- Steam cleaners
- Jet washers
- Chemical cleaners such as hydrogen peroxide to sanitize and disinfect kitchen surfaces.
There are many more aspects to be explored when it comes to enforcing safety and hygiene standards in a commercial kitchen space. Professionals, such as commercial kitchen planners, can help commercial food establishments on guidelines to be followed on maintaining food safety, cooking equipment safety, kitchen fire safety, etc. Commercial kitchen planners are also well-versed with state and health codes enforced by state and central governments that ensure that food being prepared and the people preparing it follow health protocols and the best hygiene practices.
Worried whether your commercial kitchen may not be following safety and health protocols? Well, it’s time you got in touch with a commercial kitchen planner at KILOWA design and sort that out.
A happy & healthy customer is a customer for life.