Proper washing and sanitizing of food equipment, includes dishes, tableware, pots & pans, cutting boards… yes, anything that food touches. Improper cleaning and sanitizing is an important process that helps prevent Foodborne illnesses.
Dishes from the dining room that will go through a dish machine need to be scrapped of food and trash, then pre-rinse the loose debris off the dishes. If kitchen equipment also goes through the dish machine, they need to be scrubbed of all debris, then rinsed off. Load the racks. Do not overload the racks, cram as many plates in as possible or pile dishes and pots in such a way that the spraying action is blocked from top or bottom. Make sure there is ample room for the water to do its thing.
Once the machine has finished its cycle, pull out the rack. One note at this point – the person loading the dishes, if taking the dishes out as well, needs to wash their hands before handling the cleaned dishes. If there is a person dedicated to taking out dishes, they do not need to wash hands with every load. Kinda makes sense!! The dishes need to air dry then get put away. Dishes can be stacked, but handle by the edges, utensils are handled by the handles (ever notice that handles have the perfect name!!) and stored in a way that the food contact surfaces are protected, and kitchen pots & pans get stored inverted. This minimizes any foreign objects or liquids from falling into the pans and would be unnoticed.
The dish washing team should be trained on checking the machine for proper working. I’ve audited kitchens where the dish machine had no soap OR sanitizer. No one was aware of it, and only 1 person knew how to change the products!! If using chemical sanitizer, a log should be kept where the strength of the chemical is checked and logged at least every shift. Machines that use hot water to sanitize, temps should be logged as well, with 180 being the standard minimum temperature. Machines with tanks should have the water changed every 2 hours. Of course, each machine may be different, and those directions should be followed.
Manual ware washing in a 3 compartment sink should start the same with scrapping off foods. Once the equipment is scrubbed clean, they get rinsed in the rinse sink, then dunked in the Sanitizing sink. These typically use a Quaternary Solution – follow the label for ppm strength. Equipment needs to be submerged for up to 3 minutes, then air-dried.
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Peter B Food Safety