Food hygiene is mandatory. The higher the hygiene ratings you get from health departments, the more successful your restaurant will be!
We all know that that food quality matters. But what if we get an unexpected health inspection? Sounds scary, right? Let’s make sure that every inch of your premises is squeaky clean by forming a cleaning schedule!
A cleaning schedule will help you maintain a routine, to make sure cleaning occurs as frequently as necessary.
Such a schedule is also a great management tool, allowing staff to be accountable for their actions or inactions.
Food Quality is something that is the foundation of any food business is it in the Manufacturing/ Production or in the Service sector.
Health inspections can be stressful, however, they shouldn’t be, if you have instilled a culture of food safety in your business. Keeping such records will also contribute to supporting a due diligence defence
Your staff must be trained effectively to allow efficient disinfection of work surface, hand contact and food contact surface areas.
If you want to keep or reach a 5-star rating, this is definitely something that you should put in place.
What is a cleaning schedule?
Cleaning is a pre-requisite to a HACCP plan, organising a daily, weekly and monthly cleaning routine.
It is vital to prevent potential health hazards like gastritis or Listeriosis. Your restaurant will be accountable if any customer complains. Keeping records of your cleaning schedules can prove to be a real lifesaver!
Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 talks about hygiene and The Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 have become a prominent requirement by law for many years till date. Well, let’s not talk too much about the technical stuff. Just trying to get the point across that restaurant cleaning is something to be taken pretty seriously!
The Importance of the Do’s and Don’ts Of Restaurant Cleaning
A simple list of Do’s and Don’ts aim to prevent cross-contamination and other health hazards.
The basics teach us that cleaning saves us from bacteria on hands, surfaces like tabletops and countertops and kitchenware which reduces the chances of pathogens spreading all around the kitchen.
If we take a glance at what the FSA recommends, then here it is :
1) Train your staff! Nothing too challenging. Your staff should simply know about all the critical points and hazards that can be caused if safety standards are neglected. 2) Clear and clear along each step! Sanitize storage places that include your fridges, cold storage, glass shelves and more. Kitchenware should be disinfected especially after contact with raw meat.
3) Use cleaning and disinfection products.
It is recommended that you study the instructions of the products and use them according to the job and safety material datasheets.
All disinfection products should meet the standard. Check labels for either BS EN 1276 or BS EN 13697 codes.
1) Do not let waste accumulate
2) Do not ignore pest infestation. Spilt food or stains should not be neglected as well.
3) Do not leave dirty water in buckets. These attract insects which might transfer disease-causing pathogens.
4) Do not use water that is not sanitized.
5) Do not use the same cloth for multiple tasks. Each cloth should be colour-coded and used for one specific task only. This prevents cross-contamination.
6) Do not mop the floor
Mopping the floor will cause pathogens to spread. It is better to clean the floor with a cleaner that might effectively get rid of MRSA, E.coli and Listeria and other potentially hazardous pathogens.
Hence, it is recommended that floors are cleaned with a good degreaser and is EN1276 and EN1650 conformant.
The debris should be picked up and evacuated. The floor beneath the debris should be carefully cleaned with hot soapy water.
Easy, right? Oh and make sure that there is a rotation between the work shifts. It is better that one crew member doesn’t do one job for long. When a task seems too monotonous, it starts feeling boring and dull. Chances of carelessness increase. And that’s not good at all!
Schedules should include:
- Item to be Cleaned – Make a list of all the areas and pieces of equipment that need to be cleaned. This basically means everything inside and outside your premises. Whilst that sounds daunting some things can obviously be grouped together to make the list shorter.
- Product name – Next to each item listed to be cleaned, identify the exact cleaning product to be used. For some items, several products may be required e.g. cleaners and sanitizes. All products must be listed & it helps to keep them in the order they will be used.
- Cleaning method – Describe how the product is to be used e.g. straight or diluted, and how the person carrying out the task must use it e.g. wipe with cloth, spray & leave, scrub then sanitize. It also needs to include health and safety concerns, especially Personal Protective Equipment.
- Cleaning frequency – State how often cleaning must be carried out e.g. daily, after each use, between raw & cooked foods, monthly or as required.
- The person responsible – State the name of the crew member assigned to carry out this task. In some cases, the title of the job holder can be used instead.
- Completed – Leave a field free for the responsible person to sign off as & when they complete the actual task. This is not required on master copies but is essential for working documents.
4 things you need to remember
There is a bunch of things we need to keep in mind while attempting to make our kitchens spotless. It might seem like too much of a hassle if we don’t get our daily cleaning routines straight. The cleaning schedule will consist of the most important tasks first.
Degreasing should be on top of the list. Instead of mopping (as explained above), it is vital to remove any build-up of grease which can be both a fire hazard and a health hazard.
Oven and Grill Cleaning
We all know how important this is. Can’t let food or liquid stains stay on our ovens while cooking, can we? So here’s what we can do. Even though this is one of the most dreaded tasks, this should be second on your cleaning schedules. Good products make the job easier.
This is where colour-coding comes in handy. By wiping, we mean that one cloth should be used for one task only. A milk spill should not be cleaned with the same cloth you clean raw meat bloodstains. This can cause cross-contamination.
Fridges and glass surfaces should be sparkly clean as well.
Cleaning your Cleaners
This probably wasn’t expected but this is highly important. The cleaning cloths you used should be washed properly with hot soapy water and detergent mix. The degreasers and surface cleaners used should be checked for their expiry dates.
Not to mention that your hands should be properly washed before any carrying out any task of your cleaning schedule. The dishwasher, dryer, and cleaning machinery should be germ-free. This one of those things that completely slip the mind that can act as a serious health risk.
Advantages of a cleaning schedule
- Everything is cleaned regularly
- If someone is away, you know exactly what has to be done by someone else
- If something goes wrong you know who is responsible
- It means cleaning is organized
How should a Cleaning Schedule be used?
Well, this will be part of your daily routine so it won’t be hard to follow after you have listed priority cleaning tasks till the least important typed as a proper document hung on the fridge or something.
Small scale food operators might be a bit too relaxed to follow it out of fear of expenses. This is where Health departments should provide financial assistance and proper guidance on how to follow these schedules.
What does the law about this?
The WHO, FDA and HACCP provide authentic safety guidelines and the consequences that might happen if these are neglected. The health departments in the UK, US, China and other developed countries have been given permission by law to close down any restaurant or café that provides unhealthy food. They can also be closed down if they do not reach the hygiene standards of the regional health department.