CLEANING AND HYGIENE POST COVID-19

Cleaning your restaurant and keeping it clean is a regular part of a restaurateur’s life.

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t caused by or transmitted through food, but the foodservice industry may forever feel its impact. A high-level of cleanliness will be something that customers demand and authorities most likely will require.

There are four key aspects of keeping a foodservice establishment clean and sanitary:

Hand Washing, the best way to prevent both your staff and guests from getting sick.

Cleaning surfaces, removing soils and food sources from surfaces. While cleaning does not kill pathogens, it is the most important part of the hygiene process because it impairs the environment where those pathogens would thrive.

Sanitising food contact surfaces, lowering the amount of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards, but not as thoroughly as a disinfectant.

Disinfecting touch points, killing pathogens on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it further lowers the risk of spreading infection.

Many people will mistakenly interchange disinfecting and sanitising, but it is important to note two differences: effectiveness and application.

Disinfectant cleaner may remove more germs than sanitising, making it more effective in killing pathogens, however, disinfectants are not generally food safe. Disinfectants must be rinsed once the dwell time, or amount of time the surface must remain visibly wet, is achieved.

In contrast, food safe sanitisers remove pathogens to a safe level after cleaning and food products may be placed on the surface immediately after the dwell time. Such sanitisers may not remove pathogens as thoroughly as a disinfectant, the application process is simpler because they do not require a rinse.

In a typical food service operation, cleaning and sanitising have always been the rule of thumb. Moving forward, what will we see?  We are already seeing more of an emphasis on disinfecting rather than sanitising in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, this is likely to continue.

The key areas to focus on should be staff and guest touch points. Staff should be disinfecting, not just sanitising, the areas that employees and guests touch frequently. This includes all door handles, rails and non-food contact countertops.

In the end, the simplest and most effective measure for combating the spread of viruses is to keep them away from you.  Hand washing and high touch point disinfecting, along with being more aware, are the best way to achieve this.