If you work within the food industry, you can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of your patrons. According to the FDA, it is vital for an establishment, manufacturer or retail, to implement a food safety system that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls.
Each year, roughly 48 million people (one in six) get sick from food eaten in the United States. Although major pathogens account for more than nine million of these illnesses, linking individual illnesses to a particular food is rarely possible except during an outbreak.
Food safety preventive controls should include daily, weekly and monthly sanitization of the facility. What is the best way to go about this? Here are some simple guidelines.
Daily: Ensuring proper hygiene by employees is the first defense to an effective cleaning regimen. By employees simply washing their hands frequently during their shift will help in the transfer of bacteria. This also includes not allowing sick employees to work. If they are sick, encourage them to stay home.
Daily: All working surfaces including utensils should be cleaned at a minimum of every four hours. Why the four hour rule? It’s because TCS foods require time or temperature control to help control the growth of dangerous pathogens. And within four hours, food-borne bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels. Serving food with high levels of bacteria can get your customers sick. Even if you cook the food properly, the bacteria can still be at high enough levels to get your customers sick.
Weekly: Clean ovens (per manufacturer's instructions), empty, clean and sanitize reach in coolers, refrigerators, coffee machines, flush floor drains with drain cleaner and wash walls.
Daily: All tables, seats and surfaces should be wiped down with cleaning products throughout the day and thoroughly at the end of the day. This includes the consistent upkeep of bathrooms and daily sanitization of drink dispensers.
Weekly: This is where the heavy duty cleaning comes into play, baseboards, walls and the dreaded dusting!
Monthly: Cleaning monthly is an opportunity to utilize outside companies to come in and ensure that it is done properly and on schedule. These services can also include carpet cleaning, upholstery repair and complete sanitization of the front and back houses, often saving time and money over having employees perform the tasks.
Bottom line: You can never be too concerned with the cleanliness of an establishment. By following these simple and important guidelines listed above, your restaurant can be on a complete sanitization schedule in no time.