The traditional idea of kitchen hygiene refers to a set of actions related to food handling, good working practices and proper cleanliness for people, surfaces and utensils. Cleaning and health go hand in hand, since hygiene is considered a key element in people’s quality of life and disease prevention.
A guide to Hygiene in the Kitchen and Food Safety
provides information and advice for people who are in any way involved with hygiene in the kitchen. This is especially delicate in the case of restaurant professionals, since they have the added responsibility for providing the highest quality and safety guarantees to their customers. The Silestone Institute therefore provides accurate information to food industry professionals through publications such as "Food Safety Handbook”, which can be easily requested here
We must remember that although cleaning and disinfection should always go together, cleaning is not synonymous with disinfection. Something that is clean is not necessarily disinfected, and it therefore can continue to be a source of contamination. The broader meaning of cleaning is "to remove dirt or filth", while disinfection is “to remove infection or the possibility of causing it, destroying harmful germs or preventing their growth”. Both actions go hand in hand. When we clean we remove dirt and debris from food that would otherwise be a perfect breeding ground for germs, but only disinfection with the right products will minimise them acceptably.
Hygiene measures are applied to reduce contamination of various surfaces to a level that is not harmful to human health. It is not a matter of sterilising our living environment, but rather reducing the amount of pathogens to the point that they are not harmful to our health or that of those around us. For professional establishments, having a good cleaning and disinfecting programme will help to avoid sources of contamination.
Hygiene measures in professional kitchens
Although it is a fairly popular belief that everyone knows how to clean, we have to know what to clean, when, how and how clean, and that’s why the Silestone Institute for Hygiene in the Kitchen wants to spread awareness of the importance of cleaning and disinfecting the kitchen.
- Ceilings must be smooth since pipes, wires and beams can trap dirt.
- Junctions between floors, walls and ceilings should be rounded to prevent accumulation of dust and dirt.
- Always avoid inaccessible, hard-to-clean corners. Installed facilities and equipment should not be moveable or removable.
- Lighting should be appropriate for working comfortably. Light fixtures must be protected to ensure that nothing drops onto food or work areas in case of breakage.
- Ventilation must be appropriate to avoid accumulation of smoke and dangerous temperature spikes.
- Windows in the food service areas must be protected by mesh screens to prevent insects from entering.
- Swinging doors prove to be very practical for separating various areas since they can be opened without hand contact and are always closed.
- Pay close attention to sinks. They should be easy to clean and disinfect. Take special care to avoid spillovers and stagnation of fluids and to ensure that pests cannot climb up the drain.
The cleaning and disinfecting efforts shall be carried out at the end of daily activity to avoid detergents from coming into contact with food, except, for example, in the event of an accidental spill, which calls for immediate intervention.
It is also advisable to have two sinks, one for washing food and the other for cleaning equipment and utensils.
is a pioneer platform in Spain for the exchange of views, the study of hygiene in the kitchen and the dissemination of how it affects people’s health and welfare. Among other outreach materials, it has created a Food Safety Handbook for professionals. It is available free of charge here