Hygiene in restaurants and cafés is about more than just keeping the premises looking and feeling nice and clean, important as that is. It forms part of the general standards for restaurants that are determined by government food authorities.
According to the NSW Food Authority: “It is a legal requirement that food premises, its fixtures, fittings and equipment, be maintained in a clean condition. Additionally, it is a requirement that all food contact surfaces be sanitised.”
This means all surfaces such as tables, chairs, benchtops, counters, refrigerators, display units and other surfaces must be kept clean and hygienic to comply with legal standards.
What the legal requirements entail
- Food premises cleaning – this should be done so there is no accumulation of food waste, dirt or grease. Cleanliness refers to surfaces that are clean to touch and to look at, and that are free of bad odours. General restaurant cleaning refers to the removal of food scraps, washing using detergent and hot water, and the rinsing off of any residue.
- Food premises sanitising – involves applying a process to a surface to reduce the level of bacteria and other micro-organisms to a safe level, and this applies to all surfaces.
Why sanitise surfaces?
Surfaces in food businesses are especially prone to the build-up of micro-organisms due to food scraps, grease, and food and drink spills and so on. Sanitising of surfaces helps to reduce the risk of people catching foodborne illnesses.
Restaurants and cafés often receive a lot of customer traffic over the course of a day. Being open to the general public, they may be frequented by people carrying viruses and bacteria that can cause illness such as colds and influenza.
Surfaces that people touch can become contaminated with bugs that can often survive for very long periods outside the human body – especially when these organisms have access to food and moisture, something that is highly likely in a food business.
This means tables, chairs, benches, counters, door handles and other surfaces should be sanitised daily, preferably by professional restaurant cleaners who have the equipment and expertise to ensure food premises are kept spotlessly clean and hygienic.
Don’t forget refrigerators
Additionally, refrigeration equipment should also be cleaned regularly to avoid the risk of food contamination. Even in restaurants where food handling standards are very strict, the build-up of dust and dirt in hidden spots, such as in cool rooms or around the back of fridges and freezers, has the potential to cause cross contamination of stored food and affect food safety.
Keeping fridge display units spotless and sanitised also projects a professional image and shows customers that you really care about your food business, and their wellbeing.
Make sure to keep the surfaces in your food business clean and hygienic with professional restaurant cleaning, for the safety of staff and customers and to meet regulations set by food authorities.