Several soldiers and their family members got sick at a military base in the northeastern United States. The victims had eaten frozen yogurt at a popular snack bar on the base. They suffered from vomiting, diarrhea, and chills. A child was admitted to the base hospital for severe dehydration.
An investigation showed that the yogurt machine was the culprit. It seems that food handlers at the snack bar did not break down the machine before cleaning it. They also failed to sanitize surfaces after cleaning them.
Quick recap: To clean is to remove dirt and food particles. To sanitize is to reduce pathogens on surfaces to safe levels. We want safe hands, safe tools, safe surfaces, and safe equipment.
This week we’re going to talk about equipment. All of your equipment should come with specific instructions for cleaning and sanitizing, but there are some general rules to follow.
- Unplug the equipment.
- Take the removable parts off the equipment. Wash, rinse, and sanitize them by hand. You can also run the parts through a dishwasher if allowed.
- Scrape or remove food from the equipment surfaces.
- Wash the equipment surfaces. Use a cleaning solution prepared with an approved cleaner.
- Wash the equipment with the correct cleaning tool, such as a nylon brush or pad, or a cloth towel.
- Rinse the equipment surfaces with clean water. Use a cloth towel or other correct tool.
- Sanitize the equipment surfaces. Make sure the sanitizer comes in contact with each surface. The concentration of the sanitizer must meet requirements.
- Allow all surfaces to air-dry. Then put the unit back together.
With repetition, this all can become second nature to your staff. It’s what makes really good kitchens stand out and allows staff to bond and feel confident they’re part of a team they can be proud of.