Making Dough with Diane: June 2015

Six rules for keeping a clean kitchen
Diane Chiasson
May 12, 2015
In no other type of business apart from hospitals is such a high value placed on cleanliness.

All foodservice operations must place a very high priority on food safety and cleanliness. Even though each foodservice operation must pass a health and safety inspection, keeping your business clean is an endeavour that needs to be tended to every second of the day.

Commercial kitchens are filled with contaminants – physical, chemical and biological. Whether it’s a rock from a bag of beans or a single hair from someone’s head, or even chemicals found in pesticides or cleaning products, it’s easy to have a small slip-up.

In any pizza operation, there is handling of raw meats, produce, gluten and other products that can create unwanted contamination. Here are six tips to keep your bakery clean and healthy:

1. Wash your hands often
One rule that needs to be reinforced over and over again at your operation is the importance of washing hands. If necessary, hold a staff meeting and training session on how to wash hands properly. In order to ensure that you kill all the pathogens on your hands, you must wash your hands with hot water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Then dry your hands with a paper towel, and use the paper towel to turn off the faucet. Be sure that your hand-washing stations are properly stocked with soap and paper towels and that there is hot water available at all times. All staff should be washing their hands as soon as they start their shift, and after using the restroom, sneezing or coughing, eating, or handling any raw products.

2. Wear latex gloves
If frequent hand washing proves to be too much for your staff, consider making latex gloves available to your staff. Perhaps your staff does not want to wear gloves all the time, but gloves could be useful when handling raw materials, cleaning products or any other item that can cause harm.

3. Sanitize and disinfect properly
Be sure to sanitize and disinfect any surfaces that make contact with food. These can include prep tables, dishes, utensils, equipment, cutting boards, refrigerators and storage shelving units. Proper sanitization does not mean wiping an area down with a wet cloth. Use disinfectants or hot, soapy water that will eliminate micro-organisms, and have several clean cloths available.

4. Avoid cross-contamination
In order to safely avoid cross-contamination, have specific pieces of equipment, utensils, bowls and cutting boards that are used exclusively for raw meat, nuts, produce, etc. To make it easier on your staff, consider using colour-coded cutting boards and knife handles so as not to confuse everyone. Be sure to keep your dishwashing area organized. Always ensure that there is enough hot water to wash dishes properly, and run all your equipment, wares and utensils through a professional-grade sanitizer.

5. Have a plan for waste
Keeping your trash clean is an essential key to keeping away rats, mice and other unwanted rodents and insects. Change trashcan liners often, before they overflow. Have several garbage cans in your operation. It’s better to have too many than not enough. Tie your trash up carefully, and double-bag anything that feels heavy or is leaking. Lock your dumpster out back to ensure that nothing goes into it unless it comes from your operation. Consider negotiating an extra pickup so that your dumpster is emptied more often.

There should be a checklist that each staff member must follow at every shift and position in your pizza operation, as well as daily, weekly and monthly cleaning schedules, to ensure every square inch of your operation is cleaned on a regular basis. Clean all areas of the restaurant regularly, including your refrigerator, walk-ins, ovens, hoods, walls, store-room shelves, freezer and lighting fixtures.

These practices will help your business maintain the highest priority on food safety and cleanliness.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit

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