With the rise of Covid-19 over the last couple of years, sanitization in restaurants has never been more crucial. Not only are airborne diseases a cause for concern, but foodborne illness is a severe problem as well, and it's not just limited to home kitchens.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses each year in the U.S., with 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. The good news is that many of these can be prevented by using proper sanitary practices in your restaurant. You can avoid cross-contamination between raw foods and ready-to-eat foods or other surfaces that contact them (such as countertops or cutting boards). This will help reduce your risk of getting sick from salmonella contamination on a chicken breast.
Read on to learn more about the importance of sanitary supplies in a food operation and use them effectively.
What distinguishes sanitary supplies from traditional cleaning products? Commercial-grade cleaning supplies are specifically designed to kill bacteria more aggressively and prevent the spread of future contaminations.
Sanitary supplies come in a variety of forms, including but not limited to:
- Sanitizers & Sanitizer Dispensers
- Disinfectants & Sterilizers
Each category of sanitary supply has its own unique purpose and methods of use, which we'll cover in more detail below. But first, let's take a look at the importance of using sanitary supplies in your restaurant kitchen.
The Importance of Sanitary Supplies in a Restaurant Kitchen
Using sanitary supplies is one of the most important ways to prevent foodborne illness in your restaurant. Sanitizers and sanitizer dispensers, in particular, are an essential part of the restaurant kitchen and should be used correctly and consistently to reduce the risk of bacteria spreading.
Sanitizers come in two varieties: manual and automatic. Manual sanitizers must be mixed with water before use, while automatic sanitizers have a built-in reservoir that dispenses the correct amount of sanitizer each time. According to the manufacturer's instructions, both types should be used for sanitary purposes
Sanitizers are effective against most common forms of bacteria, including E. coli, salmonella, and listeria, but they are not effective against all forms of bacteria. For this reason, it's essential to also use disinfectants and sterilizers in your restaurant kitchen.
Personal Protection Equipment & Supplies
In addition to general sanitary supplies, it's also important to use personal protection equipment (PPE) in your kitchen. PPE includes items like gloves, hairnets, and masks, which help prevent the spread of bacteria and other contaminants.
It's essential to choose the right type of PPE for the task at hand. For example, gloves should be latex or vinyl gloves when working with food, and hairnets and aprons should be made from a non-absorbent material. Using disposable gloves will allow the staff to keep a fresh set of hands on the food at all times.
Health & Safety Supplies
In addition to sanitary supplies and PPE, it's also important to have a well-stocked first-aid kit in your restaurant. This will help you deal with any minor injuries that may occur during hours.
While a first aid kit may strike you as something no one would ever forget to have in a business, there are some other more niche items in this category you might want to think about investing in.
If you have gone out to eat in the last year, you are aware that many restaurants would check your temperature before being seated due to the contagious nature of Covid-19. Having one of these handy is a good idea to check the customers for signs of illness or we experience another pandemic in the future.
Alongside thermometers and temperature gages, signage is another important aspect of health and safety supplies. Having signage that advises customers to wear a mask before entering can help maintain the safety of your other customers and staff.
Food Delivery Take Out & Carry Out
When it comes to maintaining the safety of your food between cooking the items and serving them to the customer, there are a few things that help prevent any airborne illnesses from contaminating the freshly prepared food.
For starters, food carryout bags and containers make it possible for the food to go directly from the grill to the customer without anyone coming into direct contact with it. Therefore, having secure bags for transportation and closed containers will be the most beneficial for you and the customer if your restaurant accommodates any type of takeout or delivery.
For example, a type of restaurant that has used these supplies since the beginning is pizzerias. You would likely never see a pizza delivery man bringing you a pizza without it being in an insulated pizza bag, right? This is not only to keep the pizza hot and fresh when it reaches the customer, but it also protects the food for sanitization purposes.
Commercial Foodservice Equipment
This category is extensive but can be narrowed down when explicitly related to commercial sanitization needs. While commercial restaurant equipment is generally more costly, it is worth the investment.
Clean dishes are certainly a key aspect of maintaining sanitization in your food establishment. Today, there are so many different kinds of dishwashers that can help you clean dishes in the most efficient ways. There are units available that will put out a higher temperature, higher pressure of water, and sanitization chemicals for extra caution. Finding the right one is dependent on the food you serve, the volume of foot traffic you have in your establishment, as well as how many physical dishes you have.
Understanding what your restaurant's needs are prior to making any purchases will help you from buying unnecessary items. That said, it's not a secret that running a restaurant requires everyone to consider safety and cleanliness to maintain sanitary standards. From using proper PPE and first aid kits to choosing the right commercial foodservice equipment that will withstand heavy wear and tear, any business owner or manager must be on top of these considerations.
If you aren’t sure what products you need, contact an expert at our company specializing in professional janitorial services, and we can help answer all your questions! Our inventory of commercial-grade sanitary solutions can help you keep your staff and your customers safer for longer.