Kitchens can be a hotbed of germs, Chef De Partie Allan Njagi of Sierra Burger & Wine shares some kitchen hygiene tips to ensure food handling safety.
How do you maintain cleanliness of the top three germ hot spots in the kitchen?
The kitchen sink is a hot germ spot in most kitchens especially due to the rinsing of kitchen cloths used to wipe work surfaces which could be contaminated. To curb these germs, I recommend the following tips
- Kitchen sinks should be disinfected daily by rinsing my sinks with hot water.
- I also use antibacterial liquids to clean the counters and sinks and ensure these areas are dry when not in use.
- Avoid crowding kitchen counters and sink areas with dirt.
- Bins and Rubbish areas are also prone to bacteria from food dispels, so Keep bins covered, regularly emptied and frequently cleaned.
- Cloths and sponges used for cleaning working spaces should be cleaned in hot soapy water, disinfected and dried completely to avoid bacteria breeding and spreading.
What are your top three meal preparation hygiene tips for your kitchen staff
- The first rule is to thoroughly clean the sink before placing any foodstuff into it and then use the clean sink to wash food items thoroughly under running water in the sink.
- I also ensure hygiene standards are maintained by checking that each staff member has a clean cloth to wipe the working space before and after use.
- Lastly, Kitchen staff members are required to wear gloves and hats, use a clean cloth to wipe the working space before and after use, and ensure that correct chopping board and knives are used for intended food as per the colour code.
What is the importance of covering food and Salads?
- Salads can be notorious for bacteria breeding. After cleaning your salads use cling paper to cover your salad and store in the fridge. The cling helps to maintain the freshness and prevent cross-contamination of foods stored in the same fridge.
- On the other hand, Fay’s aluminium foil paper can be used to cover big pans where there might be no lids as it helps to retain moisture. Foil paper can also be used to wrap cooked meat and retain heat while you put the meat on the side of the grill to rest.
- Foil paper is also effective when packing take-away foods as it retains the warm temperatures of food.
How should supermarkets handle meats, vegetables and dairy foods to avoid cross-contamination at supermarket check-out points?
- It’s easy to contaminate your foods at the grocery store. Avoid mixing up raw meats with ready to eat food items. Supermarkets should pack red meats, white meats and dairy separately especially at the check-out pay point.
- Carry each of these items in their own designated bag to avoid cross-contamination of meat juices on other foods especially ready to eat foods.
- When storing the foods, avoid piling all foods together in the refrigerator. Pack in smaller batches, store these items separately in different containers and label clearly.
- Additionally, wash groceries before storing the fridge and use over a short period of time. Remember not to leave meat uncovered inside the fridge.
What are effective times and methods of hand washing and hand-drying in the kitchen?
- Handwashing should be a continuous practice throughout the day especially after visiting the washroom. Use soap or detergent to thoroughly wash your hands then use a disposable hand towel to dry your hands and keep germs at bay.