FOUR million cases of Gastroenteritis occur each year in Australia due to food poisoning. Prevention is key, but how do we keep a shared common kitchen area clean?
Research conducted by Initial Hygiene 2013 found most office kitchens were dirtier than toilets, making them capable of causing serious illness from cross-contamination. It also revealed that half of the office kitchens’ surfaces were contaminated with Coliforms, a type of bacteria which can lead to gastrointestinal disease.
Working in an office environment can be enjoyable and productive, however people are often in a hurry and they tend to not take the time to clean up after preparing food and eating their lunch. If the common area such as the kitchen is not kept clean, germs and sicknesses can spread through the workplace, leading to employees being sick and absent from work.
According to Professor Collins of University of Newcastle, the cost due to lost work productivity and medical care is estimated at $1.3 billion. Most cases could have been prevented with a clean kitchen bench and utensils.
That is why it is important to ensure that your office kitchen has a clean, safe place for employees to prepare their food.
Here is our simple guide featuring products to help keep your office kitchen clean;
Microfibre Cloth and Mops
Most hospitals in Australia see the benefits of using microfibre especially in dirty environments, as it traps and removes bacteria. A normal cleaning cloth and mop have fibres made of nylon or cotton whereas microfibre is made with millions of microscopic hooks that trap, absorb and remove all types of dust, dirt and bacteria from surfaces. Just think of it as dirt “sticking” to the fibre! Microfibre is around 100 times finer than a human hair, which allows the fibre to reach into tiny crevices and collect bacteria.
Microfibre is very popular amongst cleaning professionals due to its ability and versatility to clean with or without the use of harsh chemicals. With its unique structure of the fibres, all the liquids, soil and bacteria are captured far better than natural fibres. Due to it’s proven benefits, this has been communicated to the office environment and is also being used in domestic homes.
Safe to use on most surfaces such as the kitchen bench, walls, floors, stainless steel, wood and more, microfibre also comes in different cloth and mop sizes, types (for dry and wet use) and colours.
Colour-coded cleaning products
Use different colour cloths, wipes, mops, buckets and towels to identify and differentiate each area, department and application on which you wish to focus. Implementing a colour-coded program can help you reduce the spread of germs and cross-contamination in particular, the office kitchen where ready-to-eat foods are stored, handled and prepared.
Bacteria can spread from cross-contamination of food. Employees prepare their food in the kitchen and are sometimes in a hurry, unintentionally leaving small trails of food behind on the bench, in the sink or even in the microwave. When these traces of food come in contact with other cooked or ready-to-eat food, it can run a potential risk of cross-contamination, spreading bacteria which can lead to a food borne illness and absenteeism in the workplace.
An anti-bacterial spray is a quick and simple way to disinfect those surfaces to prevent bacteria build up and remove germs in the process. Another quick and effective way to hygienically clean the kitchen and hardtop surfaces is the use of anti-bacterial wipes.
Additionally, when you wash your hands thoroughly with normal soap and warm water, it can lift germs off the skin surface, but it doesn’t kill bacteria and other microorganisms. Therefore, when it comes to reducing the risk for spreading infection, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that anti-bacterial wash is ideal for food preparation settings.
For ongoing prevention measures
STERI-7 is a disinfectant cleaner that uses innovative ongoing protection, Reactive Barrier Technology to kill all infectious diseases found on clean and dirty surfaces. Usually, the cleaning process is wipe, clean and then dry the area. With Steri-7 , you only need ONE step.
This type of disinfectant only takes seconds to kill the bacteria, viruses, fungi, spores and moulds up to 99.9999% on a surface and lasts for 7 days. It is the barrier that re-activates when any moisture resurfaces.
To read more about Steri-7 click on this blog Steri-7 – High Level Disinfectant