Fast food restaurants and takeaways don’t always have the best press when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness. From rat infested kitchens to meat of unknown origin, there are plenty of reasons why some takeaways should be shut down on the spot. But just because food is cooked fast and the evening shift is manic, it doesn’t mean that a fast food restaurant or kebab shop shouldn’t be clean and hygienic. If basic food hygiene principles are followed, all will be well in the world.
Clean and Tidy Staff
Flipping burgers and cooking pizzas all night long is hot work, but there is no excuse for wearing a dirty, grease stained uniform and letting your hair drop into the food. Yes, kitchen employees need to be clean and tidy when preparing food for human consumption. This means keeping hair tied up, wearing clean clothes, and washing hands before and after handling food, and in particular raw meat.
Rats Not Allowed
Random testing on the origin of meat at several takeaways in London revealed that meat purporting to be lamb and chicken was in many cases far from it. Some was identified as horse, cat and dog—unpleasant but at least they are considered to be edible in some parts of the world. Unfortunately, some samples couldn’t be identified at all, which is a lot more worrying. Ideally rats and mice should always be kept out of fast food kitchens. Please note, however, that they should also be kept off the menu.
Mop Up the Grease
Grease is an unfortunate by-product of meat based dishes. It is also common to find large amounts of cooking grease in kitchens where food is deep fried. So if you are running a takeaway that sells fish, chips, burgers and meat products, there is likely to be lots of grease to clean up. You could ignore the mess and go home early, but cleaning will be a lot harder if you do. Once grease and fat has had a chance to accumulate, it attracts dirt and dust. It also becomes a magnet for nasty pests, which is never good in a kitchen environment.
Wipe Down Surfaces
Worktops and any other surface that comes into contact with food needs to be kept scrupulously clean. Everything should be wiped down with hot, soapy water and disinfected regularly. This will help prevent bacterial contamination and the spread of disease. Kitchen utensils should be washed in hot soapy water and dried before storing somewhere clean. Worn utensils need to be replaced once they have reached the end of their life.
Feeling poorly is no fun at all, especially when you have to work. However, when your job involves working with food, it is a really good idea to stay at home until you are fully recovered. Sniffling and sneezing into the chips is very unhygienic and if you happen to be afflicted with a gastrointestinal bug, there is a very real possibility that your germs will spread far and wide, which isn’t good for business.
A fast food kitchen is no different to any other type of kitchen. Hygiene and cleanliness are important, so make sure you don’t neglect either of them. And if your walls and work surfaces are in poor condition, install some Proclad panels to improve hygiene levels and make cleaning easier.