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Tackling germs in the kitchen

Home cleaning adverts will often emphasise the risks of residual germs in areas like kitchen work surfaces, refrigerator handles and dining tables. Consumers are encouraged to use cleaning products and wipes that combat the vast majority of bacteria that typically gather on these surfaces.

Adverts will sometimes suggest that germs are quickly spread by coughing and sneezing in the home, with germs landing directly on surfaces, or passing from hands to surfaces.

For kitchens, this kind of spread of germs is something that needs to be combated effectively. Rigorous processes to encourage cleaning before, after and throughout service, as well as extensive availability of wipes and other cleaning products, are therefore vital.

One other issue for foodservice businesses to consider is the health of their workers. In 2012, the US Restaurant Opportunities Centre (ROC) United released a report ( suggesting that staff sickness could impact on hygiene.

The report says that restaurant workers in the Miami-Dade County area risk working in kitchens while sick.

It states: ‘The lack of earned paid sick days combined with low wages forces many Miami-Dade restaurant workers into a corner — they have to choose to whether to lose pay when they’re sick or go to work sick — most have no choice, they must work to survive.

‘Nearly 90% of restaurant workers nationwide have no access to earned paid sick days, and 64% have worked while sick, according to extensive surveying of thousands of restaurant workers by the ROC United, as well as the National Institute of Health’s National Health Interviews Survey.’

Healthy workers could help contribute to a hygienic kitchen. Restaurant businesses should consider a comprehensive approach to food safety issues such as this. A combination of extensive cleaning processes, effective cleaning products and a healthy workforce will keep kitchens clean – and keep diners from suffering as a result of poor hygiene.