Thursday, 23 January 2014

Ductwork Cleaning: Ingot Services Advises on Food Hygiene Ratings

5 Steps to an Excellent Food Hygiene Rating in 2014

An excellent food hygiene rating has become the new must-have accolade for food outlets everywhere – and ductwork cleaning is among the essential steps needed. Make 2014 the year to get this aspect of your business right. This is vital to preserve your reputation with new and existing customers and protect your business from negative publicity. As an expert duct cleaning contractor, Ingot can advise you on the best steps to take.

About the Food Hygiene Rating System
Anyone eating out in England, Wales or Northern Ireland will probably have noticed the “scores on the doors”. These are numbers displayed outside a catering business, which show its rating for hygiene. They range from 0 – meaning “urgent improvement needed” – up to 5, or “very good”. 

The ratings in Scotland are different, with companies either being awarded a “pass” grade or one of “improvement required”. Whichever system you operate under, your business should aim to achieve the top rating available. This will reassure your customers that food is handled hygienically and all possible steps are being taken to keep the premises safe, including meticulous kitchen extract cleaning.

1. Train all staff in Food Hygiene
It is a legal requirement for all staff working with food to have at least a Level 2 Hygiene Certificate in Catering. An Environmental Health Inspector will carry out an inspection every three years to ensure their knowledge is up to date, so you must ensure all members of your team regularly attend courses and are aware of any changes in best practice.  

It is also a good idea to have supervisors, managers and owners qualified well above the minimum, achieving a level 3 certificate, designed for anyone running a team of food handlers, or level 4, which equips workers to train others. This is not just a box ticking exercise to impress inspectors, but an important safeguard for your business and its customers. 

It is also good to give training to all employees, including waiters and bar staff, even if they are not actually handling food. This will ensure the awareness of hygiene runs through every level of your business.

2. Get staff on board
It is essential to tell staff about the food hygiene rating system and make sure they know how important it is to the business, and to their own jobs. You need to foster daily vigilance to ensure there is no danger of slipping into bad habits, such as skimping on kitchen cleaning or failing to schedule ductwork cleaning. Put measures in place to reward good hygiene and encourage people to spot and report any problems they might notice. Remember, your staff are your first line of defence in promoting good hygiene.

3. Review your regular cleaning regime
It is a legal requirement to have a properly documented cleaning rota, with adequate supplies of cleaning materials. However, what was a suitable cleaning regime when you started the business may not be enough as demands change. You will need to look at it again if your restaurant expands, you change the range of foods being served, or you buy different equipment and change the layout of your kitchen area. 

In the hectic atmosphere of a busy kitchen, with so many demands on your time, it is easy to put off reviewing your cleaning regime, but this is a recipe for problems. You must make it a priority to look at your daily routine and make any necessary adjustments.  

4. Back up with scheduled deep cleaning
Deep kitchen cleaning gives everyone a fresh start. Having this carried out regularly guards against hazardous build-up of dirt in areas which are not easily accessible every day, such as behind cupboards and appliances. Deep cleans demonstrate to staff the importance of hygiene and reduce the chance of problems.

5. Include invisible kitchen extracts and ductwork
Because kitchen extracts and ductwork can't be seen or accessed by staff, it is tempting to overlook the need for them to be cleaned regularly. However, these are potential sources of contamination, where grease, bacteria and germs can build up. If you fail to arrange ductwork cleaning on a regular basis, it can undermine other hygiene efforts. Dirty extracts and ductwork alone are enough for inspectors to withhold a good food hygiene rating, so you need to give full attention to these areas.

Ductwork Cleaning  – Click here to contact Ingot and find out more.

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