With the Government easing restrictions which is enabling more and more companies to open, it is important to make sure your kitchen equipment is safe and suitable to start working after a period of down time. We have put together some advice on checking your kitchen equipment and making sure it is in good working order before re-opening your kitchen. If you have any queries, your equipment manual is a good place to check but if in doubt a qualified engineer can ensure your equipment is safe to use. Space Group offers a service and maintenance package providing both reactive and preventative maintenance with fully qualified engineers, click here for more information.
To ensure your fridge is ready to stock all of your fresh foods check the door seals are still working, as they should be. If your fridge has been turned off, make sure to clean and sanitise it before restocking with food products. Be sure to check the temperature of the fridge before stocking up, we recommend turning the fridge on 24 hours before to ensure it reaches the correct temperature.
Appliances using water
Dishwashers and warewashing equipment
A key piece of your kitchen equipment that enables the safe disinfectant of kitchen utensils can also incur cross contamination issues with bacteria build up if it is not properly cleaned before use. Top tips for a slick and safe machine operation:
- Check that the filters are clean and in the correct position
- Make sure your detergent and rinse aid are topped up
- Fill and heat the machine
- Put the machine through a few wash and rinse cycles
- Drain the equipment, clean and recheck filters
- You are ready to go!
Once you have turned your water supply back on, add salt to the brine box and plug the appliance back in, remember to reset the timer for regeneration cycles to a suitable time.
Combi ovens and steaming ovens
Before use ensure water filters or other water treatments are fitted and working. Appliances should be fully cleaned and put on either a clean or steam cycle. Door seals should be checked for damage and if a wash down hose is fitted this should be flushed for about 10 minutes to remove any build up of bacteria.
These should be thoroughly flushed for at least 10 minutes to remove any bacteria build up.
Before attempting to restart the boiler, ensure that all filters or other water treatment are fitted and working. Assuming that the water supply to the appliance had been turned off, it should be turned back on and the appliance refilled and brought up to boiling.
Where a building, part of a building or a water system is taken out of use, sometimes (mothballed), it should be managed so that microbial growth including legionella in the water is appropriately controlled.
Before reusing the water system, it should be recommissioned by a competent person as though it was new (i.e. thoroughly flushed, cleaned and disinfected) before returned to use.
Check the seals don’t have any damage, if they are damaged they need to be replaced by someone competent. Make sure the oven is clean before use.
Before reconnecting anything electrical, check the cables haven’t been chewed by rodents. If there are any signs of damage, they should be replaced by someone with the appropriate capabilities.
Gas safety is an essential part of making sure you are re-opening your kitchen in a safe manner. When appliances have been sat unused, seals and joints settle and can cause leaks, we recommend having the gas checked by a Gas Safe registered catering equipment engineer (please see our service and maintenance package if you need help). The individual appliances should also be checked to ensure they are working correctly and safely. Where a gas interlock is fitted you can check the operation by switching on the ventilation and then lighting an appliance before switching off the ventilation at which time the interlock should turn off the gas supply.
Check that the fryer is clean. If the oil has been sat idle drain the oil, clean and then refill with oil. Heat the oil and carefully check this with a suitable thermometer to check that the thermostat is working correctly.
Check that all filters, grease and input air filters, are clean. Once switched on check the fans are working as they should be. If the extract duct cleaning has not been carried out during the shut down then this should be carried out before the ventilation system is used, during shut down grease build up on fans may have dried, which can overload them. Whilst your kitchen ventilation replacement air system brings in fresh air from outside the building, this is less than the volume of air extracted, so to draw the remainder from other parts of the building. This is to create a slightly negative pressure in the kitchen to prevent odours spreading out into the dining room or other areas. In order to minimize the chance of drawing air from the dining room which may contain viruses, where possible open windows in the kitchen to provide the remainder of the replacement air.
We hope this guidance helps you with re-opening your kitchen safely.
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