When it comes to the proper and effective cleaning of commercial kitchens, we often find that cleaning tools—the items we use to keep the kitchen hygienic and healthy—are the very items that spread disease. Keeping these tools clean and sanitized for use in a commercial kitchen raises many concerns. For example, raw meats, fish, and poultry and the juices produced by these foods can store many pathogens until adequately cooked. These fluids often find their way on to cleaning tools during the cleaning process.
Similarly, fruits and vegetables can be a source of contamination until effectively washed or cooked and can contaminate surfaces and equipment.
Another contamination issue custodial workers need to be aware of, especially during the winter months, is norovirus. While outbreaks on cruise ships garner the most headlines, most of these occur on land.
Whenever someone gets sick in a food service establishment or within a few hours after eating in one, and there is vomiting, the cause is most likely norovirus. Assuming this is the culprit and taking the proper action helps protect the health of other customers as well as the employees who will likely be called on to attend to the incident.
In a norovirus situation, all tools used to attend to the situation should not be cleaned, but rather, properly discarded. Place all contaminated or potentially contaminated tools in a large trash liner, secure the top, and dispose of them in an outside dumpster.
Just as we should assume a vomiting incident in a food service facility is likely caused by norovirus, custodial workers must realize that after especially after continued use, their soiled cleaning tools are probably contaminated with germs, bacteria, and other pathogens. To reduce exposure to these, workers should always wear personal protective gear.
The most essential items are gloves—preferably gloves that come up the arm and over the wrist to protect the skin—and nonvented goggles. Often chemicals or water are poured over cleaning tools to rinse them off. The nonvented goggles help prevent chemicals, rinse water, or contaminated droplets from getting in the eyes, which can cause serious health risks.
It is also recommended that disposable gowns or aprons be worn when washing kitchen cleaning tools. This helps protect clothes and the added covering helps protect skin from chemical solutions as well as airborne contaminants that can be dispersed during the scrubbing process.
Keep in mind the above, below are some best practices for supervisors and other managers to share with workers that can help keep microbial contamination from finding its way into the very tools assigned to keep food service areas healthy and safe.
Custodial workers can never be too cautious when it comes to the upkeep of kitchen tools. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when the health consequences of negligence can be severe. This information was first seen on www.Issa.com