An efficient hygiene strategy is essential if operators want to keep customers happy. Kathy Bowry reports on the products that can help
The last thing any hospitality business needs is a visit from the local environmental health officer resulting in a low hygiene score for all to see or even a total shutdown because of poor standards of cleanliness.
With ‘scores on the doors' becoming familiar to diners and word of minor misdemeanours spreading like wildfire on social media, it's never been more important to ensure all areas are covered when it comes to hygiene.
"In an era of digital communication, more information is being collated and distributed then ever before," says Emma De-Alwis at food and drink research firm Campden BRI. "Some studies have looked at hand hygiene compliance with an aim to find ways to prove whether it has been carried out. One such method involves wearing an electronic name tag that specifies if a person has washed their hands or not, with a red, amber or green signal indicating the level of hygiene. This has been widely trialled in the health industry, but not in food.
"Similar wireless technology could be incorporated into temperature recording devices to provide traceability of temperature and data about ingredients travelling through the food chain. This data can be accessed on smartphones, tablets or laptops.
"It is also very important to note that these items themselves should also be controlled in relation to cleaning and hygiene as they could become a source of contamination. Rapid methods of detection for specific bacteria, allergens and chemical residue are all being researched continually."
Kärcher steam cleaner
Consumer research from digital work management technology supplier Checkit has revealed that diners would rather put up with poor service from rude and unhelpful staff than eat at a dirty restaurant, with 66% rating unclean or dirty premises as the first or second reason for not returning to an establishment.
Checkit's product is used by restaurants and other food businesses to ensure that cleaning and hygiene tasks are carried out on time and to the right standards. Its Memo handheld unit flags when checks are due and then automatically records the results in real time, so managers have a complete, time-stamped picture of what is happening on the ground.
Memo outlines everything that needs to be done, down to the cleaning product to be used. Any issues or missed checks are reported immediately to managers, allowing them to take action quickly before problems escalate.
The clean kit
Paul Feery, marketing director at Wrap Film Systems, says: "With the Food Standards Agency calling on restaurants to put their hygiene marks on the doors, there has never been a better time for chefs and operators to review their kitchen standards. Using professional equipment in a professional kitchen can help minimise harmful bacteria and food contamination, as well as keeping a clean and tidy kitchen space. Wrapmaster cling film dispensers are hygienic, safe to use and dishwasher safe with the added bonus of coming with dishwasher-proof food hygiene stickers to help prevent cross-contamination."
In hands-on cleaning terms, Kärcher has a range of appliances, including a battery-operated micro-sweeper, and a battery broom for both hard floors and carpeted areas. Kärcher scrubber-driers make floors hygienically clean and give them a shine via high-contact pressure and a roller brush for textured or jointed surfaces. Kärcher also has a range of spray extraction carpet cleaners in its Puzzi series.
Meanwhile, Bestway Wholesale has recently extended its Essentially Catering five-litre range with six new products, including glass and mirror cleaner, sink and drain unblocker and lemon all-purpose cleaner. Also new to the label is a five-litre antibacterial handwash that can be used in food preparation areas.
Diversey, part of the Sealed Air Group, offers a complete range of Suma-branded kitchen care products to cover kitchen cleaning and hygiene tasks. Nisbets, too, fields a complete range of chemicals for kitchens through to washrooms under the Jantex brand. Jantex Pro sanitiser, for example, is available in a handy trigger-spray bottle.
Greaselift from Ecolab is a non-caustic and biodegradable kitchen degreasing solution that has the power of caustic degreasers, but does not require the use of protective gloves, goggles or aprons. Greaselift foams provide vertical cling when cleaning areas such as vent hoods, grills or ovens and do not produce noxious odours when sprayed.
Bestway Wholesale's Essentially Catering range
A recent survey from Miele Professional discovered poor cleanliness in hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses is such an issue for British holidaymakers that 26% of people have moved accommodation because of this. According to Miele Professional, British establishments risk losing up to £500m collectively if they don't address cleanliness levels.
"Sixty-one per cent of people use reviews on TripAdvisor to research where to stay," says Les Marshall, sales and marketing director at Miele Professional, "and 31% of hotel guests admit to having posted a review of a hotel on TripAdvisor. Of the people that have written online reviews, 10% did so specifically to vent about poor levels of cleanliness."
Marshall believes operators should avail themselves of a Miele Professional on-premises laundry. "It gives greater control over linen, ensuring it is thoroughly cleaned with a quality finish while also reducing costs over the lifecycle of the machines," the firm says.
However, many operators prefer to outsource to a commercial laundry that can also offer linen, towel and uniform rental and management. Berkshire-based Clean laundry provides linen and workwear to a broad range of hotels throughout the UK. Clean started working with the 160-bedroom Old Thorns hotel Hampshire in 2011 and delivers 13,500 linen items a week including bedlinen, table linen and towelling for the gym and golf club.
Zenith Hygiene launches QAC-free sanitiser
The move is in response to new EU rules affecting the foodservice sector. Recently, the EU revised legislation with regards to Maximum Residual Levels (MRLs) of sanitiser products used in food contact areas which contain QACs. The legislation now sets the limit of MRLs that can be left on a food contact surface to 0.1mg/kg, which is so low that the only practical way of meeting the requirement is to use a sanitiser that is completely free of QACs. Zenith Hygiene has developed a new, highly concentrated cleaner named Ultra Cleaner Sanitiser.
Based on the already accepted formulation of amphoteric surfactants widely used in the food and beverage manufacturing industry, Zenith's Ultra Cleaner Sanitiser is both a 'food contact' and 'non-food contact' sanitiser, tested against European norms for pseudomonas aeruginosa, e coli, staphylococcus aureus, enterococcus hirae, influenza A, bovine viral diarrhoea virus, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.
The product will be available in ready-to-use 750ml solutions and highly concentrated 2L solutions.
Good practice makes perfect
The BHA has launched the Guide to Good Hygiene Practice for the catering industry, which is recognised by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland. It is the first update to the guide since 1995.
Dr Lisa Ackerley, food safety adviser to the BHA and strategic advisor to compliance partner Acoura, says: "The Guide gives all caterers, large or small, a comprehensive guide to food safety and hygiene laws. It's a must-have for any business or organisation that handles food. It explains the law and gives simple examples to help caterers put it into practice. Caterers who comply with the guide should achieve a five-star hygiene rating or, in Scotland, a pass.
"Essentially, it gives all the information a food business needs to know and also goes one step further by giving best practice examples that further benefit a food business. For example, the guidance on stock rotation enables caterers to reduce food waste, having both an environmental and commercial impact."
Acoura is also running a series of regional CPD training sessions for enforcement officers and senior industry staff. To book a place, visit http://bit.ly/297Py8v
The guide is available at www.acoura.co.uk
Don't slip up with grease management
Operators need to be aware of rules under TR19 compliance, requiring that establishments must have their whole ventilation and extract system cleaned, warns a spokesperson for Interduct UK.
Fire is a real risk if grease levels in ventilation systems are allowed to build up. TR19 requires grease levels not to exceed 200 microns, and failure to comply with TR19 can result in insurance being void and even prosecution for negligence.
Riser cleaning has become especially relevant over the past five years, says Interduct UK, due to many high-profile restaurant fires where restaurant groups have not taken the correct precautions.
In response, Interduct UK has developed a specialist chemical clean for vertical risers which it claims ensures a level of cleanliness compliant with the new legislation.
"The method and product has been modified over the past four years and now the system works extremely well. The Interduct UK team cleans in excess of 500 risers per year - this has led us to hold the title of the largest cleaner of kitchen grease extract risers in the UK."
Wrap Film Systems