I have been watching the recent new series for the BBC, The Food Inspectors. The more focus being brought to bear on food hygiene, cleanliness and food preparation procedures the better as far as I am concerned.
For those of you who have not seen it so far, the series looks at the role played by Environmental Health Officers (EHO’s) in keeping food shops, restaurants and take aways clean and safe for us to buy and eat at. Some of the stories so far just show how professional establishments deal with the food we love – some scenes are quite shocking and the EHO’s have rightly closed them down until standards improved to acceptable levels.
No EHO ever wants to close a place down, but I for one am grateful that they do what they do – as they are grateful that we do what we do – keeping properties free of pests and provide deep cleaning and hygiene testing services to pubs, restaurants and shops.
Last week they also visited a house which was in a right old state – so much so they the daughter of the owner would never eat there, nor allow the grandchild to do so either. The program brought in their EHO to check and pass comment of the house, and especially the kitchen. The EHO used similar testing equipment to us and did a hygiene swab test on one of the food preparation surfaces. One thing I have not mentioned is that this house hada load of cats which seemed to be everywhere – especially on the working surfaces.
The tests we use are called ATP tests – basically this tests the amount of bacteria present in a specific test area. We test working surfaces, taps, door handles and cooking preparation equipment like mixers and the like. A “clean area” normally returns a result of between 10 and 50 units. When the EHO tested a working surface in this house, the reading was not too surprising to me – it was 199, 000! Put quite simply, this place was disgusting and these incredible readings were down mostly to the cats walking and sitting on the surfaces – you might as well have rats running about in there really – cats carry as many germs all over the surfaces. If I go into a house and see a cat on a surface I just cringe…no tea and biscuits for me in that house!
The other problem commonly found in kitchens and food preparation areas is the dreaded “dish cloth”. Theses harbour millions of bacteria, and of course when used to “clean” a surface, transfer these bacteria to the surfaces as well. Don’t think for one minute that the products that kill 99% of all germs will ever clean this up!
Rapid Environmental Services offer a complete range of hygiene testing services, deep cleaning and cleaner verification showing you if your cleaners are doing a good job and using sanitising chemicals correctly, then we can train them to do it properly of course! So if you are a restaurant owner, take away owner or your business is involved in the preparation and sale of food to the public, then we are here to help you be ahead of the game. With reporting and testing results as part of the service, you can show your EHO that you are serious about food hygiene. Contact us here or Call us now on Newbury 01635 247192 for a free confidential discussion.