Make sure your ice is not covered in bacteria!

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Classeq provides advice for busyCHEF Blog readers to make sure your ice is in tip-top condition to minimise the risk of contamination.

According to recent research by the Health Protection Agency, dirty ice is being served at almost one in three pubs, restaurants and coffee shops, putting the health of customers at risk.  Tests carried out on ice, ice machines and utensils carried out by the HPA at 88 establishments identified that 30% showed clear evidence of poor hygiene.

One of the major problems identified was the failure to clean machines and scoops used to fill glasses and cups, clearly not acceptable to the paying customer who are at risk.

Nick Burridge, Director of Sales at Classeq understand the risk but as he explains, “At Classeq we are the leading suppliers of the Ice-o-Matic ice machines in the UK which have every commercial ice making requirement covered, from coffee shop to busy pubs, bars and restaurants, from small under the counter machines to those with large storage bins, with ice options such as ice cubes, flaked ice and nuggets.”

 “Ice is defined as food and a requirement of the Food Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 is that it must be made, stored and handled so that it is not contaminated, and therefore the onus is on the staff and management to comply with the regulations,” Nick continues.

Clearly, there is an issue with contamination that occurs and there are three main causes of contamination:

1 – Physical contaminants such as dust, dirt, raw food, pests and people

2 – Chemical contaminants due to misuse of cleaning and maintenance chemicals

3 – Contaminated utensils such as scoops and other ice lifting utensils that come into contact with people, raw foods and other objects containing bacteria before touching the ice.

Nick continues, “There are some basic hygiene rules that need to be followed and below are twelve steps to reduce, and hopefully, eliminate the contamination of ice in an establishment.”

 1 – Connect the ice machine directly to the mains water supply, and avoid connecting to a water storage tank.

2 – Site the ice machine in a clean area away from possible sources of contamination such as bins, food preparation areas, chemicals etc.

3 – Always use the ice machine in accordance with the instructions supplied by the manufacturer

4 – Service the ice machine on a regular basis to ensure it is working appropriately and in hard water areas to ensure no limescale and other deposits are formed.

5 – Clean and sanitise the ice machine at least once a week, including the removal of any unused ice in the machine at the time.

6 – All utensils used to handle ice need to be cleaned and sanitised on a daily basis and checked to make sure they are not damaged.

7 – Use the correct chemicals to clean the machine, in accordance with the manufacturers instructions and to include non-abrasive cleaners, rinsing with clean, fresh water, wiping with a food safe antibacterial cleaner and rinsing thoroughly before reusing the machine.

8 – When using the ice machine, keep the lid closed whenever possible.

9 – Train staff how to use and clean the ice machine appropriately and ensure that all staff clearly understand the handling of edible ice.

10 – Maintain a good practice of personal hygiene and ensure that all staff clean their hands at all time before handling the ice scoops and ice should never be handled by hand.

11 – Never use the ice machine for storage of any other items.

12 – Keep a record of daily cleaning and maintenance ensure that this record is checked and that random spot-checks are undertaken to ensure that processes are followed appropriately.

Nick concludes, “Clearly the risk of ice contamination needs to be addressed but following a strict regime of training staff, cleaning equipment and maintaining best practice should help to  mitigate these risks and ensure that ice supplied is not contaminated and customers are left with a cool, refreshing, drink and no unexpected side effects.”

 Classeq offer a full range of ice machines to suit the needs of all establishments.   The Ice-o-Matic range enables easy, tool-free removal of key parts for maintaining hygiene standards providing quick and easy cleaning along with a manual self cleaning cycle to make cleaning and sanitising the machines easier.  Generous bin design allows for easy, ergonomic access to the ice for the operator and AgION antibacterial compound used to reduce harmful bacteria growth and maintain food safety between cleaning cycles.

Perfect for helping to minimise the risk of ice contamination.

With thanks to Classeq and Nick Burridge. Classeq ice makers are available at busyCHEF by clicking here.

The complete breakfast solution – installed for free!

OSC613The Lincat Opus SelfCooking Center is an excellent choice for breakfast production. In fact it’s really the only piece of cooking equipment you need to prepare a cooked English breakfast.

Bacon, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms and toast can all be grilled using the SelfCooking Center’s snack/breakfast mode. You can fry eggs in the MultiBaker’ tray, scramble eggs in a gastronorm or even grill kippers, all at the same time and with no taste transfer. It takes an average of just 6 minutes to prepare all the items you need for a cooked breakfast.

But perhaps the best part is that the SelfCooking Center is that it’s so easy to use. The intuitive, push button technology of the Lincat Opus SelfCooking Center enables kitchens to operate with fewer or less well trained staff – a situation which many operators find themselves in first thing in the morning. Using a clear, touch screen panel they can simply select the food they want to cook and the result they’re looking for – the combi does the rest.

This means that consistently high quality results can be achieved with very little training. At the same time experienced and confident users can, if they wish, control the systems themselves, selecting cooking mode, cabinet and core temperature, humidity level and time. It’s the best of both worlds.

Time saving features, such as the CleanJet+care self cleaning system also reduce labour costs. And since the unit can be left to cook and clean unsupervised, your team can focus on more productive activities.

The SelfCooking Center can also be used for pastries such as croissants or pain au chocolat. For those who offer a continental style buffet breakfast, it can be used to prepare cooked meats, overnight if necessary.

The full range of Lincat Opus SelfCooking Center ovens can be found here.

The busyCHEF online showroom offers Lincat Opus SelfCooking Center Combi Steamers at fantastic prices, and busyCHEF is offering free installation* for any Lincat Opus SelfCooking Center Combi Steamers ordered through the busyCHEF web shop.

*Applicable to all orders received on or before 30th September 2013 to within 1 metre of services in the UK (sorry, but not Highlands, Islands or NI).

With thanks to Lincat.

 

Green Equipment…

OE7702-+-OA7923-+-2-x-OA7924There’s lots of talk just now about ‘green’ catering equipment. The truth of the matter is however that it’s very difficult for caterers to make informed choices about the ‘greenness’ of the kit they’re considering, due to the current absence of any agreed industry wide standards.

That said, one sure way of saving resources is to buy equipment which can be used for more than one cooking process.

The Lincat Opus 700 multi-functional pasta boilers provide a good example. Both models, the 400 mm wide (OE7701) and 600mm wide (OE7702), can be used as a pasta boiler, steamer or bain marie, offering unique versatility and space saving performance.

A range of high quality baskets can be specified to meet individual pasta boiling requirements. Alternatively, perforated or standard gastronorm containers can be ordered to enable the units to be used as a steamer or bain marie.

For more details check out the busychef.co.uk web shop or click here. With thanks to Lincat.

When to replace your Commercial Dishwasher

Duo 750 Open Cups CutleryAre you making repeated service calls for your commercial dishwasher? Are you debating between another service call versus replacing the whole unit? Although these are cleaning machines, proper maintenance and cleaning are important to keep dishwashers operating efficiently and effectively. Typically, a dishwasher is replaced for one of three reasons: technical problems, inefficiency, or inadequacy for operational needs.  Technical problems can mean the machine is out of warranty and past its prime. Older generation dishwashers are expensive to keep running from a service point of view. Most high-quality commercial dishwashers are expected to have a useful service life of 10 years on average.

As your foodservice establishment continually grows or expands overtime, you may find that your dishwasher isn’t capable of handling the growing demands efficiently. If your machine is requiring you to rewash items or extending operating times, it is probably time to consider replacing the unit. The good news is that today’s dishwasher models consume significantly less water and energy than models of only five years ago. This reduces the time necessary to recoup the investment of a new machine significantly. So how can you tell when it’s time to replace your dishwasher? Look for the following:

When to Replace

  1. Increased service calls and high repair costs: When a unit requires an increasing number of service calls or multiple component replacements, it may be nearing the end of its service life.
  2. Signs of wear and tear: Tank leaks may signify that the welds are giving out. Also, problems can be caused by water leaking from the boosters.
  3. Loss of controls: If the dishwasher’s controls are not operating properly or pump pressure is lost, replacement is most likely appropriate.
  4. Inconsistent results: The results of the unit are a key indicator that the dishwasher is not operating at 100 percent.
  5. Older models: Operators may want to replace older dishwashers that are utilising excessive amounts of energy and/or water with a more efficient unit.

Picture for brochureOnce you have that new machine installed, it’s important to get the most out of your purchase. Remember these steps for extending the life of your new dishwasher:

Maintenance Musts

  1. Clean machines after every shift, since flushing out the water removes accumulated dirt from the machine, improving washing performance.
  2. Regularly wash and clean scrap screens or filters.
  3. Depending on usage and water quality, wash and rinse arms should be cleaned weekly or as required.

Look at the busyCHEF range of dishwashers here. We are pleased to stock the Classeq range of dishwashers and glasswashers. Classeq manufacture a wide range of dishwashers and glasswashers for use across the hospitality sector with machines widely used in schools, restaurants, bars, clubs and cafes.

Gas chargrills with no lava rock required!

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Chargrilled or barbequed food is an increasingly popular al fresco option for diners. However it’s often not quite so popular with the kitchen staff who have to clean equipment at the end of a busy session. Lava rock, which is mistakenly thought by many to give food its distinctive chargrilled flavour, is both messy and makes equipment difficult to clean. Worse still it often provides inconsistent results.

But it is the igniting of fat and flaring which gives food a barbequed or chargrilled taste rather than the lava rock itself, which gives off no aroma. That’s why Lincat have eliminated the need for lava rock from our Opus 700 and Silverlink 600 chargrills.

In its place are specially designed heat transfer radiants. These are more controllable and consistent than lava rock, yet still ignite sufficient fat for optimum flaring to give a distinctive chargrilled taste. At the same time removable branding grids provide the characteristic ‘branding’ effect. These can be removed at the end of the cooking session, together with the radiants, fat collection tray and splashguard to facilitate cleaning.

There are four gas powered Lincat chargrills to choose from. The Silverlink 600 CG4 (450mm wide) and CG6 (600mm wide) chargrills incorporate independently controlled twin cooking areas, providing economic use of energy during quieter periods. The heavy-duty Opus 700 range includes the 20 kW OG7401 (700 mm wide) and the 900mm wide OG7402, which offers a 25kW output. All four can be operated by propane or natural gas, and are ideal for barbeque applications.

With thanks to Lincat. The full Lincat range of chargrills available from the busyCHEF online showroom

 

Avoiding Accidents in the Kitchen

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 10.00.17The Health and Safety Executive is running a campaign on slips, trips and falls in the workplace.

Slips, trips and falls from height can all have serious consequences. Everyone can do more to ensure that their workplace becomes a safer environment. The effects of slips, trips and falls at work are far reaching, both for those involved, their families and the industries they work in. The cost to society alone is in the order of £800 million per year. The HSE Shattered Lives Campaign website helps raise awareness, provide guidance and encourage employers and employees to take action to help reduce the risk of a slip, trip or fall at work.

Carrying hot oil

Emptying oil from deep fat fryers can be difficult. Make sure you and your staff follow the manufacturers instructions to do this work safely.

Food spill

Food or cooking spills are one of the main causes of slips in kitchens. We all need to be vigilant and clean up any spilt substance that could cause a hazard. Take a look in your workplace and see if you can improve how you work.

Water overflow or leak

An overflowing sink or a leak that causes water to drip onto the floor can create a serious slip hazard, especially on a smooth floor. Stop it from getting onto the floor in the first place: turn off taps and fix leaks quickly. Use drip trays or something similar as a temporary measure.

Floor in poor condition

It’s easy to trip on damaged floors, if you spot an area of damage arrange for it to be fixed straight away, don’t put off repairs. As a temporary measure, highlight the damaged area, report it and where possible keep staff away.

Trip hazards

An unexpected obstacle in your path can cause a serious trip and fall. People need a clear space to work, so make sure boxes, bags, cables and other obstacles aren’t left hanging around. Storage should always be provided for incoming deliveries and bags.

Cleaning

Most slips happen on wet or dirty floors, anything that gets onto the floor needs to be removed quickly and effectively. Ensure cleaning happens at the right time and is carried out in the correct manner using the right products and equipment for the job.

With thanks to the HSE Shattered Lives Campaign website. To download the above poster click here

Tired of waiting for the kettle to boil?

Boliers-group-300x173As our work days become busier and more demanding do you spend more time than you can spare waiting for the kettle to boil when you want to make a quick cup of tea? Well our new wall mounted water boilers may be just the solution you need. Lincat have extended their popular FilterFlow range to include two slim and compact wall mounted models, ideal for catering establishments, office kitchens, staff rooms and anywhere where space is at a premium.

As with all FilterFlow water boilers they incorporate the unique built-in water filtration system so piping hot filtered water is available 24 hours a day. Capable of producing up to 31 litres of hot water every hour you should never need to queue for the kettle again.

Their sleek flush wall-mounted design means there are no unsightly wall brackets and with a choice of black or white glass front fascias they will look stylish in any modern environment.

For further information visit the busyCHEF website

With thanks to Lincat

Food Safety starts with Smart Restaurant Kitchen Design

restaurant-kitchen-plansDesigning restaurant kitchens can be very complicated. There are many factors to be considered when planning where to put equipment and what materials to use. Local authorities may require detailed documents showing the site plan, floor plan, equipment layout and plumbing/mechanical/finish schedules even before any construction begins. These plans should be developed with food safety in mind. The information in this post can be used as a general guide to help new restaurateurs understand environmental health and local authority requirements when designing their kitchens.

Site Plan
A site plan should show the facility and surrounding areas such as parking, drains, incoming services and bin areas. Some operators may want the option to hose down their bin areas to keep them clean, but this can’t be done if there is no adequate drainage. Consideration should be given to access for food deliveries and any nuisance caused by smells from kitchen ventilation and noise from fridge room equipment.

Floor Plan
This is the most important part of the planning process. Where to put equipment sets the flow of all restaurant operations. A good floor plan can increase efficiency for kitchen staff and servers and improve food safety. A bad floor plan can cause confusion and contribute to cross-contamination. The floor plan should show all areas of food service, storage, dishwashing, preparation, staff toilets and janitorial facilities.

Sink Requirements
Hand wash sinks should be convenient and easily accessible to all areas of the kitchen. To achieve this, multiple sinks may be needed. Employees should have access to hand wash sinks on the cook line, in prep areas and in the wash-up area. At least one mop sink should be available to fill up and dispose of mop water.

Adequate sinks must be available to show that pans and dishes can be washed separately from vegetables. The sinks should be large enough to submerge the largest piece of equipment. Seperate sinks are needed even if a dishwashing machine is installed.

Separate areas for dishwashing and food prep. If the kitchen is large enough, and to prevent cross-contamination, the dishwash area should have a separate entrance for staff to deliver dirty dishes without walking through any prep areas.

Equipment
Equipment on the cook line should be positioned to execute the menu efficiently as well as prevent raw meats from contacting ready-to-eat foods. This can be tricky, but putting the salad prep area on the opposite end from where raw meat is handled will keep foods from contaminating each other from storage and handling.

All equipment must be of commercial quality and fit for purpose Use a reputable kitchen installer to source the equipment. Stainless steel for all shelves and benches is now standard practice. To facilitate cleaning, all stationary equipment should be sealed to the wall or spaced for cleaning.

Finish Schedules
A finish schedule should show the materials used for all floors, walls and ceilings. It’s important to understand finishes in the kitchen will be different than in the toilets or restaurant areas. As a general rule, all finishes in food prep areas should be smooth, easily cleanable and impervious. Some local authorities also require that light colors be used so it’s easier to see if areas are clean. Typical kitchen finishes are correctly gloss painted or plastic clad walls, non-slip vinyl flooring coved to the walls, washable ceiling tiles or matt painted finish.

Plan Early to Save Time and Money
As you can see, a lot goes into planning a restaurant kitchen. Often, new operators don’t understand that decisions made in the beginning can greatly impact flow. This can lead to longer wait times, unhappy customers, cross-contamination and increased risk of illness—all of which can have a negative impact on sales. Start planning early with an emphasis on efficiency and food safety. Use a reputable kitchen installer to help with your design and choosing the correct equipment.

Each local authority has different plan review requirements. Submit plans early and don’t start construction until those plans are approved. The environmental health officer will have comments and concerns regarding the plans, and adjustments may need to be made. It could be costly if the work has already started without these changes on the final plans. Please consult your local authority for more information.

Using a reputable kitchen installer such as YCE Catering Equipment in Leeds could save you time and money. Give them a call on 0113 252 6566 or email info@yce.co.uk for further information.

The best choice of quality and reliable kitchen equipment and refrigeration at excellent web prices can be found at busyCHEF