Prevent Cross-Contamination in Restaurants With UV-C Light
According to the CDC, 1 in 6 people in the United States falls ill after eating contaminated food. Therefore, it is extremely important to handle food properly to prevent cross-contamination in restaurants to ensure customer safety.
Cross-contamination happens when harmful bacteria is spread around your kitchen and can be a major cause of food poisoning. It can occur at any point along the production, however, the most common examples are the transfer of bacteria between raw and cooked food. This can occur through unwashed cutting boards, plates, hands, or kitchen utensil and equipment like knives and tongs.
Food contamination can easily damage a restaurant’s reputation, cost your business a lot of money, and above all, have serious consequences on public health. Dangerous foodborne pathogens like Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli cause more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhea and respiratory illnesses to cancer.
Remember, the tips that we’ll mention below are not just for professionals working in the food service industry. They can also be related and applied to home cooks who shop, prepare, and serve meals to their families.
3 Ways in Which UV Light Can Help Prevent Cross-Contamination in Restaurants
Policy-makers can build and maintain food infrastructures and systems to manage food safety risks along the food chain. However, the primary responsibility lies with restaurant owners. With the right information and measures restaurants can enhance food safety, avoid cross-contamination, and consequently prevent foodborne illnesses.
1. UV-C Light Protects You Against Foodborne Illnesses
UV-C light has been used for many years for water purification and air disinfection. It has germicidal properties that can effectively deactivate the DNA or RNA of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens. It destroys their ability to reproduce and cause illnesses.
UV-C light is becoming a popular, cost-effective solution in eradicating pathogens and extending the shelf-life of food and beverages, saving you money.
Scientists have confirmed that UV-C light is effective in sanitizing food products without damaging their physical or chemical qualities. Moreover, scientists confirm that UV-C light can eliminate up to 99.99% of all bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, including COVID-19!
UV-C light is the perfect solution to combating mold and mildew in walk-in freezers. Remember, moisture is mold’s best friend. So, depending on what you’re storing, controlling the humidity level may not be enough. A UV-C light installed in your walk-in freezer is your go-to solution without affecting and wasting the food around it.
2. UV Light Sanitizes Food Contact Surfaces
Did you know that dirty surfaces are one of the most common safety violations filed against restaurants?
96% of kitchen surfaces were not thoroughly washed after food preparation.
The risk of cross contamination doesn’t end when the food is cooked. Any surface that comes in direct contact with food must be cleaned and sanitized because they may have food allergens.
Disinfecting all areas in food service establishments can be very challenging. And depending on the material and characteristics of what you’re trying to clean, you may need to use different types of disinfectants and sanitizers. It can be hard and tiring to follow all of the guidelines and keep track of these details. Furthermore, wiping surfaces with soapy water and a towel isn’t enough.
What UV light offers is a 99.99% guarantee of protection anywhere the UV-C light touches. This includes small, hard-to-clean parts of your kitchen where it’s hard for chemical disinfection to reach. For this technology to work, all you need to ensure is that the surfaces are illuminated with UV-C light briefly.
3. UV Light Reduces Dependency on Toxic Chemicals
Restaurants use a lot of cleaning products to decrease the chances of biological cross-contamination. Fortunately, using a UV-C cleanser is a physical process rather than a chemical one. Therefore, it’s environmentally friendly and non-toxic. This will help protect your customers, staff, utensils and other equipment from the side effects of harmful chemicals such as chlorine.
As mentioned earlier, UV-C light disinfects spaces throughout the restaurant that has been touched by it. This method is much easier and 99.99% more effective than rigorous cleaning with bleach, soap, water, and other chemical products.
UV light is a great way to control odor that could cause concern to nearby residents. An odorless kitchen is much better than a chemical-smelling one.
Unfortunately, information gets spread in no time, and it only takes a single outbreak to ruin the reputation of your restaurant.
Top 8 Tips To Improve Food Safety
In addition to using UV-C light, there are proper food hygiene steps that you and your employees could learn to implement. Use the following food handling and preparation practices to avoid the contamination of food.
- Wash your hands regularly in between cooking, before serving dishes, and after going to the bathroom. It’s recommended that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Keep new, cooked, and fresh produce away from raw food.
- Use different utensils/equipment when preparing food.
- Thoroughly wash contact surfaces and equipment like cutting boards, knives, etc. that have been used.
- Avoid thawing or marinating food at room temperature as that becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Thaw or marinate it in the fridge instead.
- Maintain the required temperature in all food storage areas.
- Never wash poultry or any other raw meat. It won’t get rid of any harmful germs present. Only proper cooking will.
- Without obvious signs of contamination like mold, pay close attention to the expiration date.
Storing food also plays a key role in food safety. It’s also recommended that you place all raw food and raw meat in separate sealed containers or bags at the bottom of your refrigerator. This also includes poultry, eggs, and seafood. Keeping them separate and covered will aide in preventing their juices from dripping onto other food items.
By implementing safe practices in your kitchen, dining space, and bathroom, you’re proactively slowing the spread of deadly diseases and protecting your customers. Additionally, a clean restaurant creates a great first impression, a better experience, a higher customer satisfaction level, and brand loyalty.
You can achieve food safety goals this by combining safety features and the benefits of the UV-C wavelength. Wolven’s technology maximizes the intensity of bacteria-killing light delivered to prevent cross-contamination in restaurants.