The Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA) has released guidelines covering best practice in commercial kitchen for foodservice operators.
Key concerns include cleanliness, minimising the risk of infection or contamination, and maintaining social distancing.
People, staff and visitors
- Workers should record their personal temperature daily before starting work and should follow current government guidelines if it is not normal.
- Encourage staff to wash hands often, for at least 20 seconds.
- Limit access to the kitchen to as few people as possible. Don't allow unnecessary visits.
- Organise workflow and handover points so that serving staff don't enter the kitchen.
- Schedule essential visits from outsiders, such as service engineers, at night and avoid any overlap of people.
- Minimise interaction between kitchen staff and other workers, including when they are on breaks.
- Organise shifts so that the same workers work together, restricting the number of workers interacting with each other.
- Provide clear guidance to suppliers, delivery drivers and any other essential visitors in respect of social distancing, hygiene requirements, etc, before they arrive.
- Introduce time slots for deliveries so that handling can be planned and managed safely.
- Provide floor markings to signal current social distancing measures.
- Introduce a one-way traffic flow to minimise contact.
- Consider using screens to help separate staff/work stations.
- Restrict access to stores such as pantries, coldrooms, fridges and freezers. Consider a rota, so that individuals have set access times. Ensure areas are cleaned regularly.
- Provide signage to encourage good hygiene standards such as frequent washing of hands.
- If possible, create work stations at social distances. Ideally everything that the chef needs will be at their own work station – prep, cooking equipment, refrigeration, and so on.
- Where there are internal doors within the kitchen, if possible wedge them open. This will help minimise touchpoints. Do not wedge open fire doors or refrigeration or coldroom doors.
- Provide more waste facilities and arrange frequent rubbish collection.
Hygiene and staff
- Encourage staff to wash hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds.
- Encourage staff to regularly clean and sanitise their work area, especially any touchpoints such as prep areas, handles and control panels.
- Minimise touchpoints and handover points with staff, for example when handing plates to kitchen staff or when accepting deliveries.
- Minimise handling of foods – for example, staff should use tongs to insert and remove products such as toasties into high-speed ovens.
- If serving food and drink is not the primary function of the site, only do so if you can do it effectively and safely, following a thorough risk assessment.
- Have bins to collect used overalls, aprons, towels, etc.
Hygiene and equipment
- Where possible install germicidal UVC lamps (as used to eradicate SARS).
- Use an automated fogging device to deliver sanitising solution to surfaces if possible (as used in healthcare).
- Only one person should work on each piece of cooking, refrigeration or warewashing equipment to avoid cross-contamination.
- Look after equipment to minimise service call-outs and engineer visits.
- Regularly clean and sanitise all equipment and appliances, inside and out. Set up a regime to ensure this is carried out to a schedule.
- Regularly take out and clean your appliances' shelving, drawers, racking, etc. Often they can be put through a commercial dishwasher.
- Chefs should avoid sharing utensils, tools, pots, pans, etc.
- Wash hands between loading and unloading a warewasher.
- Where possible use self-cleaning equipment and equipment that can be operated without the use of hands (ie, with an elbow).
- If your equipment is connected to the internet, exploit its potential to reduce touchpoints. For example, recipes can be uploaded and programmed remotely and HACCP data logs can be downloaded with no need to even enter the kitchen.
- If your kitchen has modern, programmable appliances such as combi ovens, exploit their ability to cook without supervision. This will reduce touchpoints and free up staff for other tasks. Using pre-set programmes will also help temporary or unskilled staff to work efficiently.
- Ensure all storage containers, trays, pans and lids are thoroughly cleaned – using the dishwasher where possible.
- Check the ventilation system is operating correctly and have it serviced regularly.
The FEA cannot be held responsible for any costs or issues arising from following the guidelines. The guidelines above are advisory and do not cover the established guidelines, ie, food safety, health and safety, etc. All foodservice operators should follow the guidance and regulations from the respective government departments and agencies.