The coronavirus pandemic has swept through the UK and most of the world over the past few months. Although we are now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel with UK lockdown rules relaxing and businesses slowly beginning to reopen, new challenges are arising for businesses to stay afloat. As Covid-19 has had a large impact on the economy and is recognised as a serious issue for food businesses, UK government departments have created ways to support them.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities have offered guidance for workplaces to safely operate, abiding by health and safety regulations and of course, social distancing. When it comes to your foodservice business, providing a safe environment for employees and consumers is of paramount importance.
Here’s our guide to Coronavirus and Food Safety: Shared Kitchens vs. Commercial Kitchen Spaces
Shared vs Commercial Kitchens
A shared kitchen does have its benefits – it enables you to split the cost of a professional kitchen with other foodservice businesses and cut back on overheads as well as offering you a fully-equipped kitchen.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, if you’re a restaurant or delivery service, using a shared-kitchen poses a higher risk and has the potential to cause harm to staff members and consumers. It presents the question: has the kitchen been cleaned sufficiently between uses? There is a much greater risk of cross-contamination across kitchen surfaces.
A commercial or dark kitchen is the more obvious choice when hiring a kitchen space during the coronavirus outbreak. It offers the flexibility to mould the area to your own business needs, particularly if you’re using your own kitchen equipment. When it comes to abiding by health and safety regulations, being able to clean your own utensils thoroughly to a high standard between uses removes any uncertainty over the levels of hygiene of your kitchen.
If you’re looking to start a food business or scale-up your current business, hiring an exclusive commercial space from Dephna ensures the whole kitchen is available for your use only. You’re able to do a thorough risk assessment, in order to identify hazards and control measures of food safety. We can provide you with a list of trusted suppliers to either rent or buy kitchen equipment from.
How Commercial Kitchens can Minimise the Impact of Covid-19
Businesses with operational kitchens, large enough to maintain social distancing, are now able to offer a delivery service. Although it is very unlikely that coronavirus is transmitted through food, food businesses should continue to follow the Food Standard Agency’s (FSA) guidance on good hygiene practices in food preparation.
In keeping with good hygiene practice, anyone handling food should wash their hands frequently with antibacterial soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly after being in a public place.
As a food service business, it remains your responsibility that food produced in your kitchen is as safe as possible until it is in the hands of the consumer. In the midst of a pandemic, it’s also important to consider the consumer’s age and state of their immune system. Be sure that all food produced by you doesn’t cause serious harm through inappropriate food packaging or transit and is safe to eat at the time of delivery.
Commercial Kitchen Efficiency
Managing operations in a commercial kitchen
Following the below steps should ensure your kitchen remains disease-free:
- Wash, rinse and sanitise food contact surfaces, utensils, food preparation surfaces after use to remove any harmful bacteria
- Frequently disinfect surfaces touched by employees such as doorknobs and equipment handles, cutting boards, hand towel dispensers, broom and mops
- Ensure food is stored at the correct temperature
- Regularly clean and disinfect floors, counters and other operating access areas
- Staff should be cleaning surfaces more regularly, especially during times when service is higher than usual
Social distancing guidance
Staff must maintain two metres social distancing at all times in the kitchen and during breaks to avoid any close contact. Work areas may need to be rearranged to accommodate this distance. Also, try to minimise the overlapping of shifts as much as possible.
Review the health status of staff
Staff checks should be done on a daily basis to review the health status of workers including temperature checks. If staff report feeling unwell with any flu-like symptoms they will need to self-isolate for 14 days.
Uniforms should be stored and cleaned safely
Covid-19 can stay on surfaces for up to 3 days – therefore uniforms are a potential source of transmission. Staff members should be wearing clean uniforms each day. If used clothes are unable to be washed immediately, they should be stored in a sealed container for three days and then washing as normal is permitted.
At Dephna, we offer complete flexibility and 24-hour access with commission-free deliveries. If you’re interested in renting one of our commercial kitchens, find a location that suits you and enquire now to book a visit.
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