Warewashing, An Important Part of your Kitchen Sanitation Program

By Laura Craven

An effective warewashing program can ensure kitchenware cleanliness, enhance guest satisfaction, and save money. For this edition of The Expert Interview, I spoke to my colleague Angel Rodriguez. As a Regional Director of Chemical Sales at Imperial Dade, Angel oversees the Environmental Service Program. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Angel has a wealth of knowledge on the topic.

LC: What exactly is warewashing?

AR: Warewashing is the term associated with cleaning and sanitizing any kitchenware used in the preparation, serving, or storing of food. This would include pots and pans, cutlery, glasses, serving pans, and trays. Warewashing can be done by machine or manually. This process is a key factor in ensuring that a commercial kitchen provides a clean and safe dining experience for their customers.

LC: You mentioned cleaning and sanitizing. Can you explain the difference?

AR: Great question! Cleaning removes food and other debris from the surface of an item, such as a plate. Sanitizing is the next step. Sanitizing kills the microorganisms and germs on the cleaned surface, making it safe for food contact.

LC: I think we all have an understanding of manual warewashing. It’s what we do at home, correct?

AR: Yes, but in a commercial environment there are specific steps and regulations. At home you may wash a plate with retail detergent, dry it, and put it away. In a restaurant you must wash the plate with a commercial-grade detergent, rinse, and then sanitize in water that contains 200 parts per million of sanitizer. That last step is the one that causes the most challenges. For example, if the water is too hot, the sanitizer will not be maintained at the appropriate level.

LC: And if that happens, is the sanitizing step compromised?

AR: Yes, and if a health inspector performs a test, it will result in a violation. It is really important to have a proper 3-compartment sink system, use the correct products and follow procedures.

LC: Does using a dish machine make the process easier for the operator?

AR: Commercial dish machines require less labor and, especially in large establishments, are much more efficient than manual washing. But there are still procedures and maintenance that need to be performed.

AR: First, the operator must consider the best type of machine. There are many sizes and configuration ranging from a small under-counter model, which would be appropriate in a bar area or small café, to a large conveyor model used in a hotel. These machines operate at high or low temperatures. Low temperature machines are less expensive and more energy efficient, but require more chemicals. There are trade-offs that need to be analyzed.  Every situation is unique. This is why it is important for operators to work with an experienced supplier, one that will take the time to determine the best system for their needs.

LC: Okay, once the correct equipment is chosen and installed, what are the steps to make sure the program runs smoothly.

AR: Scheduled preventative maintenance is crucial. A technician will change chemical lines, squeeze tubes, and dilution tips to make sure that the proper amount of detergent and chemicals are being used by the machine. These items can wear out, and if neglected can shut down the system. This can cause a major halt to a kitchen while waiting for an emergency service call.

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AR: Using the right detergents and chemicals for the machine type is another important factor. The warewashing system components operate together so substituting or leaving out products will cause problems, can result in health code violations, or worse, it can make people sick.

LC: Sounds like there is a lot more to a warewashing program than simply washing dishes.

AR: It is a very important process in a kitchen sanitation program, however when set up and maintained correctly, it will free up kitchen staff and managers to focus on their menu and their guests’ satisfaction.

LC: Thanks, Angel!

Angel Rodriguez, as well as Imperial Dade’s team of Chemical Managers, are available to consult with foodservice operators on warewashing systems. Angel can be reached at arodriguez@imperialdade.com.

 

Restaurants, Consider Switching to Linen-Replacement Napkins for a More Sanitary Option

By Laura Craven

Linen napkins have long been considered a necessity by many restaurants. However, with heightened concerns about sanitation, now is a good time to consider linen-replacements.

With the latest in paper-making technology, linen-replacement napkins are practical, economical, and can support an upscale brand image. Here are a few things to consider when choosing between linen and paper linen-replacement napkins.

Why Linen-replacement Napkins

  • Linen-replacement napkins are sanitary and require less handling before use by the guest.
  • Linen-replacement napkins are perfect for off-premise applications and can be included in upscale wrapped cutlery kits.
  • Good quality linen-replacement napkins are about $0.04 – $.0.06 each.
  • Linen-replacement napkins are available in many styles, sizes, colors, and patterns. They can also be printed and embossed to create branding opportunities for restaurants.
  • Linen-replacement napkins are very absorbent and soft. One napkin typically lasts an entire meal.

 

Why Not Linen Napkins

  • Linen napkin rentals can range from $0.75 on the low end to over $3 on the high end. Additional costs include pick-up and delivery fees, laundering, storage bags, and replacement for lost or damaged napkins.
  • Linen napkins are typically handled by many people between the time they are laundered, transported, folded or rolled, and placed on the dining table. This creates many opportunities for contamination.
  • Linen napkins are treated with chemicals during laundering, which reduce their absorbency over time and make them rough to the touch. This results in customers requesting additional napkins, often paper, to wipe their hands and clean up spills.
  • Linen napkins are stored in bags or totes after use along with food particles, grease, and other debris from the dining tables. This creates an unsanitary environment attracting insects and rodents.
  • Linen napkins are stored and laundered with other linen items including table cloths, uniforms, and towels all of which can introduce contaminants to the load.
  • Linen napkins have a higher carbon footprint than paper when you factor in fabric manufacturing, napkin manufacturing, continuous transportation, laundering, plastic wrapping, and ultimate disposal.

To learn more about the many linen-replacement options available, contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant. For a location near you, visit our website.

 

COVID-19 Resources from Imperial Dade

Imperial Dade has been serving the restaurant and lodging industries for over 80 years. We are committed to helping our partners work through the challenges of creating a safe and healthy environment as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

The following are various resources available for download or accessible via link. Included are new and innovative products designed specifically to solve challenges related to social distancing, forensic cleaning, and safety. Best practices and guidelines for re-opening are also part of the collection.

We will continue to add more content in the weeks to come. We encourage you to revisit this page on a weekly basis.

Imperial Dade is the largest independent distributor of foodservice packaging, janitorial supplies, and equipment in the United States. We have experts on staff in the fields of infection prevention, food safety, warewashing and laundry, and sustainability. To learn more about us, visit our website.

CDC Reopening Guidance for Businesses

OSHA Reopening Guidance for Businesses

NRA Reopening Guidelines for Restaurants

P&G Reopening Guidance for Hotels & Restaurants

Social-Distancing Equipment: 

Non-contact Digital Thermometer:

Personal Protective Equipment:

EPA Registered Disinfectants:

Learn about the proper use of disinfectants in this video.

Learn about OSHA regulations pertaining to chemical spray bottles in this video.

Disinfectant Application Equipment (lead times range from 4-12 weeks)

Learn more about electrostatic cleaning in this article.

 

COVID-19 Resources from Imperial Dade

Imperial Dade has been serving the restaurant and lodging industries for over 80 years. We are committed to helping our partners work through the challenges of creating a safe and healthy environment as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

The following are various resources available for download or accessible via link. Included are new and innovative products designed specifically to solve challenges related to social distancing, forensic cleaning, and safety. Best practices and guidelines for re-opening are also part of the collection.

We will continue to add more content in the weeks to come. We encourage you to revisit this page on a weekly basis.

Imperial Dade is the largest independent distributor of foodservice packaging, janitorial supplies, and equipment in the United States. We have experts on staff in the fields of infection prevention, food safety, warewashing and laundry, and sustainability. To learn more about us, visit our website.

To schedule a personal consultation, please contact us and we’ll have a representative respond as quickly as possible.

CDC Reopening Guidance for Businesses

OSHA Reopening Guidance for Businesses

NRA Reopening Guidelines for Restaurants

P&G Reopening Guidance for Hotels & Restaurants

Social-Distancing Equipment: 

Non-contact Digital Thermometer:

Personal Protective Equipment:

EPA Registered Disinfectants:

Learn about the proper use of disinfectants in this video.

Learn about OSHA regulations pertaining to chemical spray bottles in this video.

Disinfectant Application Equipment (lead times range from 4-12 weeks)

Learn more about electrostatic cleaning in this article.

 

Restaurant Reopening Guidelines

By Vickie Holland

On a Zoom call last weekend my friends were talking about what they miss most during the “Stay at Home” order. The #1 answer was going to a restaurant! Thankfully most of the restaurants in our area have pivoted to curbside pick-up but that doesn’t take the place of sitting down in a beautiful restaurant while someone brings you a plate of delicious grilled red snapper on a bed of quinoa topped with a tropical fruit salsa. Or an order of jerk chicken wings (flats only) well done.

Once the “Stay at Home” order has been lifted, is your restaurant ready for customers? The National Restaurant Association has published this handy comprehensive reopening guide to help you get ready. Take the time to read it carefully. In addition, Imperial Dade’s HyProtection Zone consultation is available. This complimentary service includes a site survey, product recommendations, and review of best practices addressing disinfection and hygiene.

Here are our 10 favorite reopening guidelines:

  1. Check in with all employees’ well-being. They may have lost a loved one or experienced anxiety, loneliness or depression during quarantine.
  2. Instruct sick employees to stay home. Prescreen employees on arrival for signs of COVID-19 by taking their temperature.
  3. Enforce strict hand hygiene. Prompt reminders with posters on best practices.
  4. Develop a strong SOP for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces. Check that your disinfectant is EPA registered and appropriate for use against SARS-CoV-2.
  5. Train employees on the new, more detailed disinfecting and sanitizing practices.
  6. Follow the 4 steps of Food Safety: Clean, Separate, Cook and Chill
  7. Consider rolling silverware and eliminate table presets.
  8. Provide hand sanitizer for customers and employees.
  9. Use single-service gloves, deli tissue or suitable utensils.
  10. Consider a reservation only business model to better space diners.

Employees should be aware of the steps you have made to protect them from COVID-19. Ask employees for feedback on these changes and listen to suggestions. Employees often have creative solutions.

For more information on restaurant reopening guidelines, disinfectants, or COVID-19 prevention in the workplace contact your local branch today and ask to speak to a chemical specialist. Visit www.imperialdade.com/locations to find a location near you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Safety Tips for Leftovers

By Laura Craven

Whether cooking at home or ordering take-out, we often find we have leftovers. And, today with people cooking in large batches while home-bound, this is more likely. To ensure leftovers are safe to eat, and enjoyable, it’s important to pay attention to food safety rules. Make sure food is cooked to a safe temperature, refrigerate or freeze leftovers quickly, and follow reheating best practices. This will help prevent foodborne illness from improper procedures.

The first step is to prepare and cook food safely and be sure to meet the minimum internal temperature guidelines by using a food thermometer. Red meats including beef, pork, lamb, and veal should reach 145° F before removing food from the heat source. Allow to rest for 3 minutes before slicing or serving. Ground meats require a higher internal temperature of 160° F to prevent foodborne illness. The process of grinding can introduce bacteria, so the higher cooking temperature is important. Cook poultry to an internal temperature of 165° F.

The next step is to keep food out of the Danger Zone. Bacteria grows at a rapid rate when food is between 40° F and 140°F.

Keep your hot dishes above the Danger Zone until ready to cool and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. Always cool and store food within 2 hours of cooking or 1 hour if left out in a hot environment such as an outdoor meal during summer months.

Cold food should be kept at 40° F or below while serving. Nest bowls in larger bows of ice or only plate servings as needed and keep the rest of the food in the refrigerator. Store and refrigerate within 2 hours of being at room temperature.

When ready to store, cool food rapidly to prevent bacterial growth while the temperature passes through the Danger Zone. Divide large batches into shallow containers which will allow quicker cooling. Using an ice paddle (commercial and home-styles are available) or placing a container of the hot food into an ice bath will be effective. Do not put a hot glass or ceramic cooking dish or pan into cold water as it will shatter.  For large pieces of meat such as roasts, turkeys, or ham, slice into smaller parts to cool. Do not put a large batch of steaming hot food into your refrigerator as it will warm up the entire compartment and could lead to other food spoiling.

When its time to store leftovers either cooked at home or ordered from a restaurant, wrap each type of food separately in airtight packaging or seal into storage containers with a tight lid-fit. This helps keep bacteria out and will prevent the mingling of odors. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer for 3-4 months. Label your containers or storage bags with the contents and date stored. And, when in doubt, throw it out!

When it’s time to thaw frozen leftovers do so safely. Thaw in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave. If using the cold-water method, soak the food in an airtight and leak-proof container or bag in cold water just until thawed. When using a microwave, make sure the food reaches 165° F. Do not thaw food on the counter as this may allow the food to stay within the Danger Zone for too long. After thawing the food, it should be heated and eaten within 3-4 days.

Reheating leftovers requires safety practices as well. It is safe to reheat from a frozen state in a sauce-pan, oven, or microwave to the serving temperature of 165° F. When using a microwave, be sure to cover loosely and rotate to ensure even heating and allow resting time. If you end up with a second round of leftovers, it is safe to refreeze and follow the same safe procedures for thawing and reheating again.

This is part 2 in a series of blogs dedicated to sharing food-safety best practices for your home from your friends at Imperial Dade

 

 

 

 

 

Tamper-Evident Packaging & Supplies

By Jennifer Jaworski

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt nationally in the foodservice industry. For restaurants to continue to serve their customers safely and comply with local restrictions, they may offer take-out and delivery service.

Everyone is very concerned about health and safety today. By using tamper-evident food packaging, especially for delivery orders, you are expressing the same level of concern. Remember, food safety is a priority.

Here are options to help tamper-proof your restaurant’s take-out and delivery program.

Tamper-Evident Containers

tamper-evident container

  • Visual confirmation that the package has been properly sealed
  • Leak-resistant lid closure
  • Tamper-resistant tear-strip opening

 

Tamper-Evident Cutlery Kits  Cutlery Kit

  • Various kits available including choice of cutlery, napkins, and condiments
  • Individually wrapped and sanitary

 

 

Tamper-Evident Labels

label2

  • Confirms food packaging has not been opened 
  • Includes one or more safety indicators to easily recognize if the seal has been broken
  • Can be used on containers, boxes, and bags

 

Tamper-Evident Bags tamperevidentbag

  • Wide openings make bags easy to load
  • Adhesive strip fastens bag tightly
  • Helps prevent contamination
  • Allows for food to be securely transported

 

Customers will appreciate your attention to detail and care in packaging their order. When they know they can trust your food safety procedures, they’re more likely to order again in the future.

For a to-go packaging consultation, visit http://www.ImperialDade.com and contact the location nearest your restaurant. 

Food Safety at Home

By Laura Craven

Americans are staying home and cooking for themselves these days. For some people, cooking provides an enjoyable and even adventurous way to spend time with their families. For others, the kitchen is unknown territory and they must find instructions on YouTube before making mac and cheese. No matter your level of culinary skill, there is one aspect of home cooking that everyone should bone up on and that is food safety.

There are four simple steps to follow and practice food safety at home.

  1. CLEAN – Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces often
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, including the back of your hands, wrists, and under your fingernails, for 20 seconds. Wash before and after handling raw food and before serving.
  • Wash cutting boards, mixing bowls, dishes, and utensils with hot water and dish detergent after each use. Clean counters often using kitchen sanitizer or hot, soapy water, especially after prepping raw food.
  • Launder dish cloths in hot water and use fresh cloths between tasks.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables under running water and dry with a paper towel or clean dish cloth.
  • Do not wash meat, poultry, eggs, or pre-washed produce.
  1. SEPARATE – Do not cross contaminate
  • When shopping, separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other groceries in your cart. Make sure these items are bagged separately at check out.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, and seafood well-wrapped and separated from other items in your refrigerator or freezer.
  • Store eggs in the original container in the main refrigerator compartment, not the door.
  • Use different cutting boards for produce and raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Use separate plates, bowls, and utensils for raw and cooked food.
  1. COOK – Cook food to the right temperature
  • Food is safely cooked when the internal temperature is high enough to kill germs that can make people sick.
  • Use a food thermometer to be sure your food is cooked thoroughly. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the food and not touching the bone.
  • Follow the minimum cooking temperatures listed on the thermometer or on this chart.
  • Keep food hot (140° F or above) after cooking. Bacteria can start to multiply when food falls below 140° F.
  • When using a microwave, be sure to follow directions to ensure the food is thoroughly cooked. If instructions include a standing time after cooking, allow the food to rest. This enables the heat to spread evenly.
  1. CHILL – Refrigerate perishable foods within 2 hours
  • Bacteria that causes food poisoning multiplies quickest between 40° F and 140° F, this is referred to as the Danger Zone.
  • Make sure your refrigerator is set at 40° F or below and your freezer at 0° F or below. Check using an appliance thermometer.
  • Leftovers should be placed in shallow containers to allow for quicker cooling, especially large batches of hot sauces and soups, and placed in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Do not thaw or marinate food on the counter. Keep food in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
  • The door is the warmest area of the refrigerator. Use those shelves for items such as water, soda, and condiments. Do not store milk in the door.
  • Write the date of any stored leftovers on the bag or container and follow a food storage time chart. When in doubt, throw it out!

 

This is the first in a series of blogs dedicated to sharing food-safety best practices for your home from your friends at Imperial Dade

Making the Change to Take-out and Delivery Restaurant Sales

By Laura Craven

Many restaurants are temporarily shifting from a dine-in business model to take-out and delivery sales only. This requires different packaging than containers given at the end of a dine-in meal for “left-overs.” There are many packaging options on the market today and an experienced supplier can guide restaurant managers and kitchen staff on the best product selection and assembly practices.

  • Review your menu and edit according to what meals will travel well. You may need to reduce or change offerings to ensure your guests have a quality experience.
  • Designate an area for assembly and stage containers and other packaging supplies in a logical fashion to expedite the packing process.
  • Choose packaging based on your menu items. Use containers with various compartments to keep sides from mixing with entrées. Make sure your containers have a tight lid-fit to protect against leaking. Vented containers allow for steam to escape and help prevent food from becoming soggy. New fried-food packages are available that help keep items crisp. Microwavable containers are handy for customers who wish to reheat food.
  • Separate hot and cold foods into their own containers and bags to keep items at their proper temperature.
  • Use the correct size container for each application. One size does not fit all. If the container is too large, the food will shift and could break apart. If the container is too small, the food will be crowded and the container will be prone to leak.
  • Invest in the right ancillary items. Bags must allow for containers to stack neatly inside which will prevent tipping. The bags should also be the right weight and have sturdy handles that ensure safe carrying. For third-party delivery, tamper-evident bags may be needed. Wrapped cutlery kits keep the cutlery and napkins sanitary. The correct size soufflé cups will keep condiments, dressings, and toppings intact.
  • Brand your packaging. If custom-print is not an immediate option, use labels with your logo, phone number, website, and social media information so customers can connect with you.

Customers will appreciate your attention to detail when their meals are packaged in high-quality containers and include the necessary extras such as full-size cutlery kits and napkins.

For a personalized packaging consultation, please contact your Imperial Dade Sales Consultant or visit http://www.ImperialDade.com for a location near you. 

9 High-Risk Housekeeping Tasks

Janitors, Custodians, and Housekeepers are amongst the highest occupational groups at risk for injury. This is due to the physical nature of their work that often involves awkward postures, repeated motions, and forceful exertion. The following is a list of high-risk injury tasks and the best practices to reduce the risk of injury and increase productivity.

By Jameka Carter

Janitors, Custodians, and Housekeepers are amongst the highest occupational groups at risk for injury. This is due to the physical nature of their work that often involves awkward postures, repeated motions, and forceful exertion. The following is a list of high-risk injury tasks and the best practices to reduce the risk of injury and increase productivity.

Share these instructions with your crew to keep them safe.

Moving Trash Cans/Carts

The more supplies loaded on the trash can or cart, the greater the force needed to push. Pay attention to uneven surfaces. It can cause the barrel to tip over. If it tips, let it go to prevent any strain on yourself.

Lifting Garbage Bags from a Trash Can

It is so easy to injure yourself while lifting heavy objects. Heavy lifting becomes more difficult when the contents of the bag have been pushed down. Use a trash can designed with vents for easier lifting and less back strain.

Taking out trash

Moving Furniture

Moving and rearranging furniture involves forceful exertions for one person. Use equipment and devices to help move furniture or call someone for help to prevent serious back injury.

Carrying Buckets

Some jobs require lifting and carrying heavy buckets. With prolonged use, a thin handle causes significant contact pressure on the hand. Avoid heavy compression on your hand by padding the handle or using a handle with a bigger diameter.

Scrubbing

A worker who cleans floors by hand uses rapid and repetitive hand movements while kneeling, crouching, or crawling. There is also sustained bending of the upper body and neck. Use knee pads if you must kneel or use adjustable long-handled scrubbers with pivoting heads to avoid extreme reaches.

Sweeping

Sweeping floors may involve awkward positions of wrists. In addition, the back and neck are often in an awkward forward bent posture. Do not bend your back. Use lightweight brooms, standup dustpans, and lobby brooms. They allow you to remain standing up straight. If needed, bend your knees, not your back.

Making Beds

Housekeepers forcefully lift and hold each mattress corner with one hand and tuck in the bedsheet with the other. Prolonged and repetitive bending is hard on your back. Do not bend your back. Instead, bend your knees and crouch briefly.

High Dusting

Reaching up while holding a duster for long periods of time requires awkward and fixed positions of the arms, shoulders, and neck. This task can lead to pain and stiffness in the neck, shoulders, arms, and upper back. Stand at an angle and not directly under the dusting area for improved posture.

Not Taking Breaks

Working intensely and rapidly while in awkward postures, exerting force, and struggling to keep up with workload are factors often associated with an increased risk of injury. Take breaks every two hours to allow rest and recovery from physical exertion.

cleaning people.jpeg