Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Role of Kitchen Deep Cleaning in Food Hygiene Ratings

Kitchen deep cleaning used to be something a food business could carry out in the background when it was convenient. But with the advent of the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme kitchen deep cleaning looks set to take on a much higher importance and become, hopefully, a much more regular occurrence in Britain's restaurants, cafes and takeaways.

What is the Food Hygiene Scheme?

If you have eaten out in the last year or so you may have noticed the little green ratings stickers displayed in the front windows of pubs, restaurants and cafes.  What do they mean and do they affect your business?

The Food Standards Agency is rolling out the national Food Hygiene Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in conjunction with local authorities.
The scheme is designed to make it easier for consumers to choose places with good hygiene standards when they are eating out or shopping for food and includes restaurants, hotels, pubs, cafes, takeaways, supermarkets and other food shops.

Businesses are rated on the standard of their hygiene from 0 to 5, where 5 is very good and 0 means that urgent improvement is required. The rating shows how well a business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law. It lets the consumer know what is going on behind the closed kitchen door, allowing them to choose whether to eat at that restaurant. The scheme also encourages businesses to improve hygiene, the aim being to reduce the incidence of food-borne illness.

Who will inspect my business?

If you own a business that sells food then you can expect to be visited by a food safety officer from your local authority. At a planned visit the officer checks that you meet the requirements of food hygiene law.  The officer will check:

·       How hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
·       The condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
·       How the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe

During the visit the officer will explain to you or your manager what improvements need to be made and what actions you can take to improve your rating.

Any business should be able to reach the top rating and the rating is not a guide to food quality. You can let your customers know how good your hygiene standards are by displaying the rating sticker or certificate given to you by the inspector in your window or door.

How can kitchen deep cleaning help?

Kitchen deep cleaning can play an important role in achieving and maintaining a Food Hygiene Rating that your business can be proud of.

The cleanliness of your premises and especially your kitchen play a major role in a how an inspector will perceive and rate the hygiene of your business. It doesn't matter how carefully your staff handle and prepare food if the surfaces and equipment they are using are not adequately clean.

Daily cleaning is important of course, but over time dirt can build up in areas that can't be easily accessed – such as under appliances, in worktop edges and crevices and in equipment where there is inevitable grease buildup such as deep fat fryers and kitchen extraction systems.

Only kitchen deep cleaning can ensure proper cleaning of these areas. And only regular kitchen deep cleaning can ensure that dirt and grease never build up to a level that could compromise your Food Hygiene Rating.

While it's important that kitchen deep cleaning happens, it's also important to have a record of when it was carried out and, even better, to be able to show that you have kitchen deep cleaning scheduled in for the future. And that's where choosing a professional cleaning company is so valuable. As well as being able to carry out cleaning to areas and equipment that isn't possible in a daily cleaning schedule, professional cleaning provides you with independent documentary evidence of your efforts. Being able to show a history of regular deep cleaning and evidence that this history is set to continue, all helps to build confidence that what an inspector sees is more than just your business on a good day, but is your normal way of operating.

What if I am unhappy with the rating?

You have 14 days to appeal to your local authority if you think that your rating is unfair or wrong in that it does not fairly reflect the hygiene standards found at the time of inspection.

Additionally you have a ‘right to reply’ if you’ve improved hygiene standards since your inspection or if there were unusual conditions at the time of the inspection and you wish to explain this to your customers. This should be submitted to your local authority and it will be published with your hygiene rating at food.gov.uk/ratings.

You can also request another visit to get a new rating if you make the improvements to hygiene standards that the safety officer told you about at your last planned inspection. This needs to be done in writing and evidence of the improvements made must be supplied. Having documentary evidence of deep kitchen cleaning being carried out by an accredited professional cleaning company will clearly be helpful in this process.  The food safety officer will re-assess hygiene standards and give you a new rating – this could go up but it could stay the same or it could go down.

Ingot Services – Specialists In Grease Extract Cleaning and Commercial Kitchen Cleaning.

With over twenty years of deep cleaning commercial kitchens and grease extract fans you can be sure that Ingot Services will help you attain a “5” star food hygiene rating.

Find out more about Ingot Services and your kitchen deep cleaning options.

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