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Food Industry Hygiene

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October 2019 | Thursday 09:32

Maintaining Hygiene in the Food Industry

For many industries in South Africa, hygiene is important. However, in no case could it be regarded as more crucial than in the food and beverage industry. We all love to eat out and are blessed with some of the world’s best restaurants, as many overseas visitors have discovered to their delight. Not only are their patrons assured of tasty and well-prepared dishes, but they can be confident that these have been prepared in kitchens where cleanliness is the watchword. That said, we also hear of those who have experienced illness after consuming items purchased from fast-food outlets. Such occurrences only serve to underline just how important it is to embrace the protocols and equipment that are required to maintain hygiene in commercial kitchens.

The mere action of handling food exposes it to the risk of contamination. Contaminants, including harmful bacteria, can be transferred from the hands or clothing of those involved in its preparation. In addition, the work surfaces on which it is prepared can harbour a similar threat if not kept scrupulously clean. Incidentally, germs aren’t the only problem. A surface used first to prepare prawns and then meat, unless cleansed between these activities, could see the meat dish contaminated with a potentially lethal allergen. Only by implementing strict hygiene measures can this type of cross-contamination be prevented.

What applies to a hotel or restaurant kitchen applies even more so to the factories responsible for the production of processed foods. Today, even the so-called fresh produce we purchase from supermarkets is likely to have undergone some degree of processing prior to being packaged in some form of plastic. In the manufacturing environment, much of the handling is achieved with the use of machines and so, just as with human hands, clothing, and work surfaces, thorough cleaning of this equipment is an essential part of maintaining hygiene in the processed-food industry.

There is no single solution that is able to cover all of these contingencies and so ensuring a hygienically clean environment requires a combination of measures. For a start, personal hygiene can be made both simpler and far more efficient by dispensing with conventional taps and paper towels in washrooms and installing hands-free dispensers and air-dryers in their place. In the dairy industry, automated boot cleaners can help prevent floors from becoming contaminated while safe, non-toxic cleaning agents and the tools to apply them are essential in maintaining hygiene for floors, work surfaces, machinery, and handling equipment.

In industrial and commercial settings, cleaning equipment designed for domestic use is rarely adequate. Instead, there are heavy-duty solutions more suited to these environments. For example, food-preparation and -processing areas are often tiled, allowing the use of pressure washers, hoses, and steam cleaners that ensure every last trace of contaminant present can be cleansed from every nook and cranny, thus eliminating concerns over trace residues that could still compromise hygiene in a kitchen.

The floors of commercial kitchens are normally fitted with drains. Together with squeegees and mops, this makes it easy for staff to deal with spills. For both simple and more sophisticated cleaning tools, chemical cleaners, washroom fittings, and other items essential for kitchen hygiene, many of South Africa’s top restaurateurs rely on Pescatech.

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