The only official magazine of The Cleaning Show

Restaurants engaged in poor hygiene practices, study claims

Published 24th September, 2010 by Neil Nixon

Restaurants engaged in poor hygiene practices, study claims

The Health Protection Agency has claimed that restaurants and takeaways are using cleaning cloths contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria. The bacteria on unclean cloths can transfer to the hands of staff, and then on to work surfaces, equipment and utensils, leading to health problems for the public.

Researchers at the HPA sampled 133 cloths used for cleaning in 120 restaurants and takeaways in the north-east of England, and found that 56% of the cloths contained unacceptable levels of bacteria. Only a third of restaurant kitchens (32%) were following the recommendation to use disposable cloths and change them regularly. The remainder had reusable cloths - in 15% of the kitchens, staff were unsure how often they were replaced.

While most restaurants disinfected their reusable cloths every 10 to 24 hours, a number of restaurants left it longer than 24 hours, while some did not know how regularly their cloths were disinfected.

Mark Woodhead, chairman of the British Cleaning Council, said: "Exposure to these harmful bacteria can cause food poisoning and certain groups, such as the young, old and pregnant women, are extremely vulnerable. Our member, the CIEH, runs a comprehensive course called Food Safety in Catering, which will go some way to helping address these worrying findings, and is proven to improve the knowledge of all those involved in commercial food preparation."

Article links