As human beings, we live with bacteria and viruses every day. A good proportion of them are harmless, and some are even beneficial.
However, there are a number of them that you wouldn’t want in your restaurant kitchen! Here are six examples, which illustrate why hygiene in restaurant kitchens is so important.
Salmonella is the one you often hear about in the media when an outbreak of food poisoning occurs. The poisoning comes from the bacteria itself and not from a toxin, as is the case with some other types of bacteria. It mostly results from poor handling of certain foods such as eggs, seafood and meat. For vulnerable people in particular, salmonella poisoning can be very serious.
People often carry staphylococci in their bodies, according to the Department of Health, but it is once the bacteria gets onto food that it can be harmful. Staphylococcus grows and multiplies quickly, and also produces a toxin that can cause sickness. The fact that the toxin is not destroyed by the cooking process makes it even more dangerous.
Clostridium is common in the environment (such as in soil). One strand known as clostridium botulinum can cause botulism – a very severe illness that can be fatal.
Food poisoning from campylobacter can come from contaminated food and water and can lead to diarrhoea, fever and vomiting that lasts several days.
Listeria can be dangerous for pregnant women, the immuno-compromised as well as the elderly. This is the reason that these groups of people are often advised to avoid soft cheeses, uncooked eggs, and some types of processed meats. Listeria is killed by heat during cooking.
E-Coli is common and many strains are harmless for humans. However, there are harmful strains that can cause food poisoning. Fortunately, they are easily destroyed in the cooking process.
The importance of hygiene
As well as scrupulous food-handling practices that involve proper hand washing, separating raw and cooked foods, and correct temperatures for cooking, holding and storage of food, your kitchen should also be cleaned by professional restaurant cleaners on a regular basis for top cleanliness and hygiene.
Your professional restaurant cleaning service should devise a cleaning program to suit your particular restaurant or café. It should also use high-grade disinfectants and have procedures in place for avoiding cross-contamination. With your business being a food establishment, it’s also important that the cleaning and disinfecting agents used are environmentally safe.