The dangers lurking in your company kitchen

Author: Ben Gowman   |   Date: 23rd June 2018

Even if your staff try their best to keep the office kitchen clean it’s important to understand the dangers which can lurk in your kitchen if things aren’t stored properly or general hygiene rules are allowed to lapse.

Without following proper hygiene where food is concerned, we are putting everyone at risk of sickness, including salmonella and E-coli and those are the last things you want to find circulating around a place of work.

Workplace kitchen fridges and freezers are often a bone of contention, with staff bringing in food and then forgetting all about it and leaving it to go mouldy and rotten and no-one taking any kind of responsibility for keeping the fridge clean.

It’s important that a fridge and freezer are kept clean and at the right temperature to make sure they are working properly. For the fridge, this is between 5C and 7C and for the freezer; it is between -18C and -15C.

It’s important to store food carefully and only keep it for the right amount of time once it’s opened, otherwise your office fridge could be storing all kinds of nasty bacteria. Cooked ham for making sandwiches, for example, has a real risk of listeria if it’s kept for too long once opened.

Anything that is left open should only be kept in the fridge for the amount of time it says on the packet, and then thrown away, otherwise you face the risk of eating contaminated food, and of spreading germs around the office kitchen when preparing it.

Many people go shopping in their lunch hour and then store their shopping in the office kitchen fridge until they go home. If this is the case then any raw meat products should always be stored at the bottom to prevent it contaminating anything underneath.

It’s important not to overfill the office fridge either as this can prevent air circulating, meaning the fridge won’t be cool enough and won’t work as effectively, again creating a risk of germs and bacteria growing in the stored food.

The other area in an office kitchen which can cause arguments, as well as potential health problems, is around the sink and washing up. One of the key risk areas are cleaning cloths and tea towels if they are left lying around and wet.

These items need to be allowed to dry, and of course washed and cleaned regularly. The best way to avoid this problem is to provide disposable cleaning cloths and paper towels, rather than cloth ones which can be reused. Even if there is an office dishwasher it’s important to make sure they are kept clean and free from any debris after every cycle.

The best way to avoid those dangers in the office kitchen is to ensure you have a regular professional cleaning company and a deep clean carried out at least six monthly.

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