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Workplace kitchens are dangerously dirty to the point that they could cause illness, new research suggests. It has been revealed that half of the surfaces in workplace kitchens is contaminated by dangerously high levels of coliforms – the bacteria present in faeces which can lead to outbreaks of gastrointestinal disease. It also showed that more than a quarter of cutting boards, had four times the safe level of coliforms.

The handles of shared fridge-freezers were bacteria-rife, with a third carrying high levels of coliforms, whilst 30% of shared microwaves were also shown to be contaminated around the handles and buttons. Tea drinkers too are not any more hygienic – more than 40% of kettle handles were revealed to be contaminated with higher levels of bacteria than those found on toilet doors. Overall, the swab results, carried out by Initial Washroom Hygiene, showed that 75% of kitchen work surfaces are home to more bacteria than an average feminine sanitary bin.

Dr Peter Barratt, Technical Manager at Initial Hygiene said: “Shared office kitchens can be very busy areas with a heavy footfall, making this space a potential hazard for cross-contamination when good hygiene practices and hand washing aren’t encouraged.”

“As workers prepare their lunches on the kitchen surfaces, it’s vital to ensure these surfaces are sanitised on a regular basis and that, as a minimum, towel dispenser, soap, and hand or surface sanitiser are available to mitigate the risks.”

“Regular hand washing with soap and water has been proven to reduce the risk of the spreading of pathogens, and will help to ensure that the workforce remains fit and healthy.”

The study too echoed the same point, revealing that simple measures such as hand washing and the use of hand sanitiser or wipes can drastically reduce employees’ risk of infection.

Maintenance and upkeep are very critical to the efficient functioning of any commercial kitchen. Food production efficiency is negatively impacted if there is a substandard maintenance programmes; cost of production suffers due to poor maintenance programmes. A key to a good

commercial kitchen is its maintenance programmes for its production equipment.

Create a Maintenance Schedule:

An important aspect of keeping the commercial kitchen in pristine condition is having a schedule for the larger jobs. That cooler is going to need to be cleaned every few months and the workhorses like ovens, are going to need deep cleaning even more often if they are to perform last.

Train Staff – Cleaning is everyone’s job:

The fact is that an efficient commercial kitchen only operates when everyone buys into the concept. If everyone pitches in, the job gets done faster and with less overall effort. This also means preaching the ‘clean as you go’ methodology. Wiping a spill up before it bakes onto the stove top or nearby counter could save five to ten minutes at the end of the night. Multiply it with all the kitchen tasks and it becomes really easy to maintain them.

Schedule Staff:

When there is some extra cleaning to be done and the regular staff should not be used. One extra body is really all it takes to make sure that this extra work gets done.

Use the right cleaning products:

The last tip for running an efficiently maintained kitchen is using the right supplies to clean each equipment. Standard soaps aren’t great for cleaning grills. In the same way a grease cutter won’t be the best thing to wash utensils. Anti-bacterial soaps are necessary for the counter help to ensure that there is no bacteria build up. The best way to ensure that everything in your commercial kitchen is clean is to have all the right products on hand. If the right products are used, then the efficient results will follow.

Cleaning is important in all food premises, both commercial and domestic, to prevent the transfer of bacteria from dirty surfaces and equipment onto food.

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