Most countries have laws and regulations governing hygiene, which must be strictly adhered to by restaurants and hotels, failing which the establishment may be forced to close or be heavily fined for neglecting its responsibilities. Creating a clean and sanitary environment suitable for food preparation involves much more than simply providing the staff with uniforms such as Chef coats and hats. There is much more to it than that.
Keeping the kitchen area clean and sanitary is not only the responsibility of a few members of staff; everyone, from the General Manager of the establishment to the Head Chef to the dishwasher, should be held accountable for it. Even the smallest lapse in hygiene standards can result in a major setback for a company's operations, making strict adherence to the highest levels of cleanliness absolutely essential to success.
Listed below are a few general guidelines that are followed by kitchens all over the world to ensure that food is prepared in a clean and sanitary environment.
Personal hygiene – One of the most important aspects of preventing food contamination is ensuring that all staff who come into contact with any type of food adhere to strict personal hygiene rules, which can be found here. Because all types of microorganisms can be transferred from a person's hands to the food that they are preparing, it is critical that all staff members understand the importance of always washing their hands before preparing any foods. In order to achieve this, the management should provide soap or handwash in several areas of the kitchen, in order to promote regular handwashing among the staff, such as before starting work, before performing a specific task, after finishing a specific task, when switching stations, after touching any part of their body or any outside surface, and so on. Hands should be dried with a clean towel after washing, which should be changed on a regular basis. Similarly, hair can harbour microorganisms that are harmful to food, so highly absorbent chef hats should be provided for all employees to prevent both sweat and hair from falling into food preparation areas.
Clothing – Many contaminants can be transferred to food through the clothes that a person wears. For this reason, when it comes to kitchen staff, standard uniforms are provided for them to change into when working, and no one is allowed to work in their normal outside clothes while on the job site. When people are outside, things like dirt, dust, germs, fur, and a variety of other contaminants can attach themselves to their clothing and then transfer into the food they are preparing. As a result, kitchen staff should be outfitted with chef coats, pants, cook shirts, aprons, and chef hats in order to prevent food from becoming contaminated with bacteria.
Food storage – It is important to remember that food should be stored in a proper manner in clearly marked containers, and that different types of food should be stored separately. Raw meat and cooked meat, for example, should never be stored together, and the same is true for raw meat and vegetables, among other things. Staff should make certain that all containers have airtight lids, and that all food items stored have the date of purchase clearly marked on the container or label. It is necessary to store food at specific temperatures that are appropriate for each type of item.
The process of defrosting food should be carried out in refrigerated cabinets to ensure that bacteria do not form on the food due to sudden temperature changes.
Cross contamination – It is critical to have clearly marked separate utensils for different types of food in order to prevent cross contamination, such as chopping boards, knives, and other similar items, in order to prevent cross contamination. One simple way to accomplish this is to colour code the equipment in the kitchen, so that everyone is aware of which items should be used with which types of food and which should not.
Freeze food – It is critical that every commercial kitchen is equipped with blast chillers and blast freezers, which are capable of rapidly freezing food items, preventing bacteria from forming on them, especially when they are served immediately after cooking. There are many kitchens around the world that use the 'cook and chill' method to prepare food.
Food preparation and serving – Once the food has been prepared, it should not be touched with the hands because it may become contaminated. Food should be served using appropriate utensils, and servers and waiters should be trained to avoid touching the food they are bringing to the table.
Cleaning – The entire kitchen, as well as all of its equipment (especially the oven and sinks), should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitised both before the start of the day and at the end of the day to ensure proper standards of hygiene. Staff should also perform a weekly deep clean of the kitchen, and a professional cleaning crew should come in at least once every six months to perform a thorough cleaning of the kitchen.
The proper way to wash dishes should be followed, and a dishwasher is a necessary piece of equipment for any commercial kitchen to accomplish this. It is critical to use the proper detergents and cleaning fluids to ensure that bacteria from food scraps does not transfer to other surfaces.
As previously stated, it is every employee's responsibility to ensure a clean and hygienic environment for food preparation if they want to see their company succeed. As a result, proper training should be provided to all employees in regards to standards of cleanliness and hygiene, as well as cleaning methods and techniques. To maintain a high level of cleanliness, it is not enough to simply provide employees with chef coats, chef hats, and other uniforms; it is also necessary to ensure that every other aspect of the job is carried out. Customers will have an exceptional dining experience as a result of these efforts.