Cross Out Cloth Contamination  


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How To Cross Out Cloth Contamination



Pay attention to cleaning cloths since they can be a haven for bacteria if you fail to maintain them properly. The cloths you use to clean and sanitize your work surfaces can spread bacteria all over your operation. “Think of the environment bacteria need to grow--food, moisture and warm temperatures.,” says Lisa Zitiello, a food safety inspector in Cleveland. “Cloth items in a warm kitchen have all three plentiful supply.”

The picture shows an ideal cleaning and sanitizing station: Two color-coded buckets, green for detergent, red for sanitizing solution. Two different types of colored cloths; white for cleaning, blue for sanitizing. Used cloths are stored in buckets. Extra cloths are ready and discard bin keeps dirty rags from reuse.

Safety In Good Supply
Why would your employees use dirty cleaning and sanitizing cloths? They don’t have ready supply of fresh ones or they’re not cleaning and sanitizing the ones they have. They should first clean work surfaces (remove all food particles and spills with a hot, soapy cloth, then rinsing the surface). You can then teach them to sanitize the surface with a cloth embedded with or dipped in a sanitizing solution.

They need to do this: Before and after each food prep task; when they switch from preparing one food to another on the same surface; when they’ve been interrupted in their prep task; or at least every four hours when working on the same food product. Tell them to leave those cloths in buckets of cleaning and sanitizing solution when not in use. This can happen only if they have a ready supply of clean wipes.

So, first buy a plentiful supply of cloths and store them throughout your kitchen stations. Find disposable and/or reusable cloths color-coded to desginate cleaning and sanitizing. Buckets come in colors too and are labeled for cleaning and sanitizing solution. One-use pop-up sanitizing “cloths” are now on the market.

It’s A Setup!
Next, put ‘em out. In a typical kitchen, you need a cleaning bucket and a bucket filled with sanitizing solution , two or three wiping cloths each at each station. Keep buckets at each end of long lines. Cleaning buckets should be freshly filled with hot, soapy water each time you’re ready to wipe down. Sanitizing cloths can be left in the bucket of santizing solution at the proper concentration. Dirty cloths can inactivate a sanitizing solution, which is why doing the cleaning step first with a cleaning cloth is key.

Another Key Point
Be sure your sanitizing solution is doing it’s job by regularly testing the water with chemical test strips. They’re available from any restaurant supply house. Test strips are made for every type of sanitizer, and they tell you if the solution is at the proper strength to kill bacteria. Finally here’s one you might not have thought of: One reason cloths get reused past their “prime,” aside from a lack of supply, is employees don’t have discard bin. Stash old pails of buckets around the kitchen, and label them for dirty discards.

From Food Safety Illustrated

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