Creating and sticking to an efficient cleaning schedule is important for any food business, not just because it makes the process of maintaining food hygiene standards easier, but because it also acts as a written record for the dreaded Environmental Health Officer (EHO) inspections. However, allocating tasks and completing them is only half the battle. It is vital that business owners make sure that every task is carried out regularly enough and most importantly, that it is done properly and safely.
Our Top 10 Safety Tips when Cleaning
- Before you start cleaning, make sure that food is safely stored out of the way and cannot be contaminated
- If you are cleaning a refrigerator, cold room or freezer, ensure that the food is kept at a safe temperature outside the danger zone
- Switch off and isolate electrical equipment, such as slicers, refrigerators, vending machines, processing machines with dry hands before you start to clean
- Ensure that you know how to use a cleaning chemical safely and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
- Do not leave items to soak in disinfectant for longer than the manufacturer’s recommended contact time because bacteria may become resistant to the chemicals. Never leave them to soak overnight
- Wear protective clothing, such as rubber gloves and goggles, appropriate to the job
- Never mix chemicals together, they could explode, cause toxic fumes or burn your skin
- Work through the stages of cleaning in a way that does not spread dust or dirt, avoid being distracted in a way that puts you, other people or food at risk
- Clean and disinfect mops and cloths soon after use and leave them to dry in the air
- Always store chemicals, cleaning equipment away from food and only store chemicals in the original labelled containers designed for that purpose
It is important to remember that bacteria can be present on food that arrives at your business and if this is the case, these bacteria will remain present while the food is in storage. It is therefore essential that workspaces are as clean as possible to minimise the chance of such bacteria spreading. Keeping staff up to date with information and informing them of the risks and situations in which bacteria can multiply will give your business the best chance of maintaining a sufficiently hygienic and safe environment.
Cleaning should be considered as part of the job role for anyone who handles food, even in the smallest capacity. Because of this, all staff should be suitably trained for any cleaning tasks they will be expected to carry out so that they know exactly how to go about the process in a safe and reliable manner. As a business owner, if you are depending on your staff to carry out the necessary hygiene maintenance to run an effective food business, you need to be certain that each team member can be trusted to do things properly.
Cleaning should never be an afterthought in any food business and it should be given prominence within the daily routine. A slap dash wipe over surfaces does not mean that they are safe to work on and it won’t be considered as a genuine attempt to uphold Food Hygiene Legislation by any EHO.