With school kitchens under increasing pressure to produce wholesome meals each day on a budget, breakdowns can mean costly downtime and hungry tummies. Plus, with customers who are often at more risk of infections and nasty bugs, here are some top-tips to keep the school kitchen sparkling clean, healthy and running efficiently?
Basic hygiene and food safety training
All Kitchen staff, whether it’s front or back of house, should be trained on cleaning and hygiene practices. Having rigorous food safety standards across the industry is vital. Failure to follow them is like playing roulette with peoples’ safety.
Well organised and clean fridges, properly regulated storage, separate chopping boards for the preparation of meat, fish and vegetables, are all simple but important aspects to get right. And with the rise in allergies to things such as dairy and nuts, policies for avoiding cross contamination of ingredients are more stringent than ever.
Kitchen staff should complete basic Food Safety (Level 1) to Advanced Food Safety & Hygiene for supervisors and managers (levels 3 and 4), so they have the knowledge to comply with food safety legislation, promote good food hygiene practices and contribute towards an effective HACCP food safety management system.
Correct washing equipment
School kitchens must have a certain standard of washing equipment. So, make sure you’re using the correct chemicals for your dishwasher and that users are fully trained to get the most out of your machine. Hard water areas should invest in a built-in water softener too, which can prevent lime scale.
Don’t overlook your refrigeration, it’s a vital element of food safety. In a hot kitchen, the refrigeration units work hard to keep food chilled. Don’t ignore problems, because if it’s picked up early, it could mean a new door seal rather than a whole new chiller. Ideally, chillers should be cleaned out each month.
For daily cleaning, remember not to use steel wool, bleach or caustic chemicals which can damage the finish and increase the risk of corrosion. If in doubt, consult the manual and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Regular deep cleaning of your school kitchen will keep it in tip top condition and running efficiently. Our deep cleans include cleaning and degreasing every inch of your ovens, refrigeration, storage, racking, equipment, counter tops, ceilings, walls and floors.
We can even do it all overnight so there’s no disruption to your kitchen. And it doesn’t cost any more than daytime.
Self-cleaning vs clean it yourself
A technology led future is not the stuff of fantasy anymore and kitchen equipment often comes with self-cleaning and descaling programmes. Although these have been added to help with cleaning and hygiene, don’t forget that they can’t do all the work.
You’ll still need to manually clean any pooled grease or thick spills from the oven floor, door frame and walls. Plus, any pieces of food and debris that have escaped from trays will need to be removed. It’s essential that any drip trays or drains are cleaned regularly to avoid a dangerous build-up of combustible oils and grease.
Kitchen extract ductwork
Ductwork, extraction and ventilation systems form a critical part of any catering operation, but as the majority of it is concealed, it can be easy to forget about the hidden danger that lies within.
If you haven’t had a ductwork clean by an accredited organisation to TR / 19 standards, your insurance policy could be invalid. Grease can settle in the canopy of your extractor fan and ductwork. This provides a breeding ground for bacteria, results in up to 35% higher energy costs due to the extra weight and poses a serious fire risk.
These fires can be difficult to predict and control, and can lead to some difficult evacuation scenarios, especially when large numbers of pupils are involved. These cleans can be done overnight or during school holidays so no downtime for the kitchen.
It’s not just the kitchen we can help with. Nasty bugs like Norovirus, C Difficile, MRSA and E.Coli can quickly sweep though closed environments like schools. Even with daily cleaning, preventing the spread of highly contagious airborne and surface viruses, fungi and bacteria is a constant battle.
Fortunately, there’s a quick and easy way to stop them in their tracks. Fifteen minutes per room is all it takes our fog sanitisation service to eradicate the bugs that cling to hard surfaces. The disinfectants we use are completely harmless to humans and animals, manufactured to ISO 9001 and independently tested to BSEN standards. It’s safe, affordable and highly effective, immobilising and killing 99.99% of all bacteria, viruses and fungi within thirty seconds.
Talk to one of the team about how we can create a bespoke cleaning regime to suit your finances and your schedule – it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.