How to Prevent Food Poisoning – Food Handling and Hygiene Tips

Food poisoning is an illness caused by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals. Some of these toxins are found naturally in foods, while some have accumulated in the environment. Food poisoning is not only extremely unpleasant for the person suffering from it, it can also be detrimental to the reputation of the kitchen where the outbreak occurred. At Cleaning Edge, we specialise in cleaning of commercial kitchens and we understand the importance of a clean and hygienic space to the success of every hospitality business. Here’s our guide to reducing the risk of food poisoning.

Types of Food Poisoning

There are many different bacteria and viruses that all have different effects, some of the most common types are:

  • Salmonella – gastro and flu-like symptoms that appear between 8 and 72 hours (usually 12-36 hours) after eating the infected food and last for 2 to 5 days.
  • Listeria – gastro or flu-like symptoms that usually appear within 3 weeks, but can take up to 70 days.
  • Norovirus or rotavirus – severe gastro or flu-like symptoms that usually begin 24 to 48 hours after exposure and last 1 or 2 days (norovirus) or up to 6 days (rotavirus).
  • coli – gastro symptoms that usually appear within 3 to 4 days and last about 1 week.

Food Handling Tips to Reduce the Risk of Food Poisoning

There are a few simple rules you can follow to help minimise the risk of food poisoning. These steps will help to prevent food from being contaminated and prevent the bacteria in the food from growing and multiplying.

  • Avoid handling food when you are unwell
  • Wash your hands thoroughly in soap and water before you touch any food. Make sure you also do this after you have visited the toilet and before you handle food. Also thoroughly dry your hands.
  • Uncooked meats should be kept covered and separated from cooked foods and ready-to-eat foods to avoid cross contamination
  • Put food in the refrigerator in closed containers or covered with plastic wrap to reduce the risk of cross contamination
  • Use clean utensils, plates or containers to prevent contaminating cooked food or food that will be eaten raw
  • Always use clean equipment to pick up food
  • Always wear clean clothes or a clean apron when handling or preparing food
  • Wash all fruit and vegetables under running water
  • Do not wash raw chicken, meat or fish before cooking as this does not remove any harmful bacteria and may splash water around the kitchen that can transmit bacteria
  • Ensure meat, seafood, poultry and eggs are cooked thoroughly
  • Keep hot food at 60ºC or above until served
  • Store cold food at 5ºC or below
  • Ensure cold groceries go into the refrigerator as quickly as possible
  • Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator or microwave
  • Do not refreeze food once defrosted
  • Check the temperature of the refrigerator regularly

Keeping The Kitchen Clean

Kitchens should be kept clean and free from bacteria whenever possible. This will reduce the risk of bacteria spreading and causing infection. Proper kitchen cleaning includes:

  • Thoroughly wiping down and sanitising of all kitchen worktops
  • Washing chopping boards either by hand with hot soapy water or by a dishwasher after every use
  • Washing of all utensils in hot water and soap or in the dishwasher after every use
  • Washing of tea towels, dishcloths and general purpose cloths on a regular basis. Dirty or stained tea towels are an ideal breeding ground for bacteria so it is important to wash them frequently.
  • Frequent mopping and sanitising of floors, sinks, ovens, fridges and other appliances
  • Frequent removal of rubbish and wiping up of any spills

Keeping a commercial kitchen clean and hygienic is one of the most important ways to prevent contamination of food and an outbreak of food poisoning. If you are looking for the best commercial cleaning company that is experienced in maintaining kitchen cleanliness to the highest standards, contact the team at Cleaning Edge today.

The Importance of Hospital Cleanliness

Cleanliness in hospitals and other medical facilities is critical due to the fact that the spread of germs and infection can seriously endanger individuals who are already at risk. Nosocomial infection is the name given to hospital-acquired infections (HIAs) which are unrelated to the original illness being treated. According to recent statistics, an estimated 200,000 HIAs occur each year across Australia with the consequences sometimes fatal. At Cleaning Edge Solutions, we are certified and highly experienced in cleaning medical centres and hospitals throughout Melbourne. We understand that maintaining cleanliness levels to the highest standards is important not only to adhere to legislation, but to reduce the spread of illness and infection, helping to save lives.

Ensuring a Clean Hospital Environment

Cleaning regulations in medical environments are understandably strict, so cleaning should be undertaken by a professional cleaning company with experience and expertise in cleaning medical facilities and with staff who clearly understand the expectations and standards required.

Keeping a health care facility clean involves:

The Proper Use of Gloves

The improper use of gloves can spread dangerous and infectious bacteria. Different gloves should be used for different tasks, patient rooms, and jobs involving heavily soiled items. Gloves must always be changed between tasks, should never be worn in hallways, and cleaning staff must their wash hands after removing gloves.

Focusing on High-Touch Areas

Cleaning staff should focus on cleaning and sanitising the most-touched surfaces. These include beds and bed rails, door handles, basins, taps, phones, and remote controls in patients’ rooms. Counters and chairs in waiting rooms, toilets and taps in restrooms. The more an area is touched, the greater the likelihood of it containing dangerous bacteria.

Avoiding Cross-Contamination

One of the biggest challenges for health care cleaning staff is the removal and disposal of contaminants before they infiltrate other areas of the hospital. Mops and cleaning cloths pose a high risk of spreading bacteria to other parts of the facility. Cleaning staff should be trained in procedures involving spraying, vacuuming, and disposal of contaminants to ensure bacteria doesn’t leave the room.

Safely Disposing of Contaminated Materials

Whether you have soiled linens, dirty cleaning fluids, or contaminated biological materials, there should be no chance for contamination during removal. Knowing how and where to dispose of contaminated materials and liquids is as important as the cleaning system itself.

Cleaning in Health Care Facilities is Different to Other Industries

Hospitals, medical centres and other health care facilities pose a number of challenges to cleaning contractors. Such challenges include:

  • Training – intensive orientation and ongoing training are required for cleaning staff in a medical environment. This is due to the many physical and health-related risks involved, as well as the required documentation and supervision.
  • Documentation – there are extensive checklists, operating procedures, sign-off sheets and communication books that are commonly used to track and validate that work is completed as specified. Staff must ensure these are properly maintained at all times with correct and specific details.
  • Supervision – there is no room for error in a medical environment, therefore cleaning contractors must be adequately managed and supervised. Multiple government and private agencies monitor, audit, inspect and approve the operation and funding of health care facilities and these groups often conduct testing to ensure cleaning results are up to standard.
  • Risk – cleaning in health care environments poses greater risks to staff including potential exposure to infectious materials, medical-waste disposal, and increased risk of slip, trip, and fall injuries to cleaners, patients, visitors and staff.
  • Security and confidentiality – cleaning staff must maintain confidentiality about the activities and occupants in health care facilities.

Hospital cleaning is a crucial part of overall health and safety, as it’s a major contributor to controlling the spread of infections. Prestigiously certified with triple ISO certification, Cleaning Edge Solutions specialize in industrial and commercial cleaning for Melbourne health care facilities. Highly regarded as one of Melbourne’s most reliable and professional cleaning companies, we can expertly take care of all of your hospital and medical centre cleaning services. Cleaning Edge Solutions, will be able to give you the peace of mind that your facility is being cleaned to the highest standards to ensure the health and safety of all patients, visitors and staff. Contact us today for a free quotation.