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FoodHandler Safety Byte 1 TM
Customers expect restaurants to be clean and they assume that you handle the food hygienically. Clean and organized workplaces create a good impression and help to make a safe, pleasant environment for everyone. The obvious such as floors, walls, ceilings, windows, fixtures and restrooms are always clean, but just remember that even though something looks clean it can be contaminated. Equipment and areas that are likely to be contaminated by bacteria, such as cutting boards, must be cleaned and sanitized frequently throughout the work period. This is "Clean As You Go" cleaning. It involves cleaning up immediately after every task, with some allowance for busy periods.

Cleaning is the process of making something free from visible dirt and invisible contamination. It's intended to keep food and workplaces safe, and, to:

  • protect food from biological contamination
  • reduce opportunities for bacterial multiplication, by removing food particles
  • protect food from physical and chemical contamination
  • avoid attracting pests
  • maintain a safe environment, ie stop someone from slipping on a greasy floor
  • carry out legal and moral obligations to keep food safe
Sanitizing is the reduction of bacteria to a low, safe level. It can be achieved by the use of steam, hot water (171°F or hotter) or chemical sanitizers. Most restaurants use chemical sanitizers such as chlorine or quaternaries for equipment sanitizing. They destroy enough bacteria to safeguard health, even though they cannot kill all pathogenic bacteria and their spores. Remember -- you cannot sanitize a dirty surface! Sanitizers must be used after cleaning and rinsing, because they cannot remove grease and dirt. So on the slicer, for example, you cannot just wipe it with sanitizing solution and expect that the slicer is now clean and safe. Follow the manufacturers instructions for concentration level and exposure time of the sanitizer solution.

What needs to be cleaned AND sanitized?
1.   Food contact surfaces, such as:

  • Cutting boards, multi-use utensils, prep tables & work surfaces
  • Slicers, mixers, any food processing equipment, such as knives, spatulas, tongs, spoons, ladle's, microwave cavity, pans, containers, food thermometer stem, etc.

2.   Hand contact surfaces, such as:
  • Handles - on doors, refrigeration equipment, freezers, cupboards, and drawers
  • Faucets, soap & paper towel dispensers, switches & equipment controls

3.   Contamination hazards & sources of bacterial growth, such as:
  • Display cases, refrigeration equipment interiors, soda & ice machines
  • Cloths, brushes, scrubbers, mops, trash containers and their lids.
Make cleanliness and sanitation a priority at your food service facility, so customers have that over-stated image -- "so clean you could eat off the floor".

'Til next time,

Lacie Thrall
Safety Management Services
FoodHandler Inc.

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