Keeping Kitchen Utensils And Equipment CleanThursday, October 24, 2019
Food processing, preparation and handling areas are perfect breeding grounds for harmful bacteria and subsequent cross-contamination. Oftentimes we fail to pay attention to the smaller items in the kitchen or food-handling area, namely utensils and small equipment, without realising the potential for danger. Some of us have been to establishments where we had to return utensils due to lingering food material or even rust. There are even some instances where the storage of food service utensils leaves an obvious path for contamination to occur. It therefore is extremely important that we pay close attention to how we clean, sanitise and store our utensils; whether they be metal, wooden or plastic. General washing with soap and a scrubbing pad isn't always enough. Here are some additional areas that you may be neglecting when it comes to keeping your utensils free of harmful bacteria.
Some utensils and kitchen equipment are constructed in such a way that food residue may get stuck in areas that might not be easily removed with a scrubbing pad, such as scoops, curved canisters, colanders (drainers), sieves, forks, whisks, food processors, blenders. Pre-cleaning can be a tedious task, but start by doing the following before you wash:
Pre-soak to loosen food residue.
Scrape off excess residue that is left behind after soaking.
Ensure you have the right cleaning tools available such as brushes and a heavy-duty scouring pad.
If your utensil comes with detachable parts make sure you take note of what these parts can withstand — keeping in mind that not all parts can be immersed in water.
If you happen to have special equipment such as an espresso machine or brewing gadgets in your kitchen, ensure that you purchase the required cleaning kit for special parts.
Washing and sanitising
Always opt for food-grade detergent or soap to wash your equipment, using a heavy-duty scouring pad to remove stubborn residue. If you are unable to effectively remove all residue you may need to soak for a longer period or use a different tool to wash. Rinse thoroughly with clean water after washing, after which you can add the sanitation step to reduce any bacteria load that may be left behind. This can be done by adding one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of warm water to make a sanitiser solution. And soaking equipment or utensils in the solution for two minutes once it's safe to do so. Alternatively, you can use a vinegar solution to spray on equipment after washing by heating it in a saucepan to about 65° Celsius and transferring to a spray bottle for application. It is important to note that the sanitiser solution will not be effective if there is food residue on your equipment.
Important: Allow your utensils to air-dry completely before you reuse them, to avoid contamination of your food with the sanitiser solution.
Quick Tip: When using utensils with raw animal products such as knives, cutting boards and utensils, they must be washed, rinsed and sanitised after use to prevent cross-contamination when being used for other food items.
Always store kitchen equipment and utensils in drawers or cupboards to prevent them from accumulating dust. You can retrofit storage drawers with storage trays for organisation purposes; however, you must ensure that cupboards, shelves, and organisers are cleaned and sanitised prior to storage. Additionally, make sure you clean and sanitise these areas periodically with the above-mentioned methods.
If you wish to keep your utensils out — for example, when there is a buffet line or during cooking — avoid storing your utensils in ice-cold water as this, too, can cause cross-contamination. Instead, keep utensils in water that is at least 60° Celsius, or leave them with handles hanging out if you have a buffet line running.
- MARSHALEE VALENTINE
Compliance Management Systems