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Kitchen Equipment Checklist for Food Services
The kitchen is the most crucial aspect of any restaurant, hotel, or even a pantry. It is where the food is cooked, stored, and sometimes served. It is critical to keep this place hygienic and highly safe to ensure there is no contamination. Keeping kitchens clean help reduce food spoilage and cost.
Wobot’s kitchen equipment checklist helps businesses ensure that the food is adequately stored and appropriate measures are taken to ensure food safety.
Segregation of raw meat from other foods creates a barrier between bacteria from raw meat and other foods. As a result, it prevents food from getting unsafe for consumption and hence prevents food wastage.
Different types of meat need to be stored differently. It is effortless for bacteria to grow and thrive on meat, so handling meat is crucial. While it is perfectly safe to keep some types of meats for a week or maybe even more after it is cooked, other types of meat need to be consumed just a few days after they are prepared.
Raw meat may last for three days in the refrigerator (approx.). If you need the meat to last longer, it is always better to freeze it. Remember that bacteria spread quickly onto the meat; hence, it is vital to ensure that your hands are clean before handling the meat.
It is imperative to treat the meat with care. Meats being more susceptible to bacteria growth can spoil very quickly, and it is best not to try salvaging the rest of the meat. In addition, keep the meat away from fruits and vegetables because bacteria can spread from the vegetables to the meat. Meat and vegetables have different storage options according to the FSSAI rules. Meat must also be stored at a temperature below 8oC and frozen at –17oC.
- Always wash your hands before touching the meat.
- Make sure the meat is stored separately from other meats and vegetables.
- Make sure they are stored in an airtight container/ziplock bag.
- Do not mix different types of meat while storing.
- Do not use spoilt meat.
- Do not store meat for long periods.
Vegetables should be stored in a manner to maintain their intrinsic properties. Different vegetables thrive in different environments, many factors like air, moisture, light, temperature, and microbial growth could degrade the vegetables if they are not stored and appropriately segregated.
Vegetables should be stored in their designated areas and at their ideal temperatures to prevent food from becoming spoiled and then having to throw them away. As such, it’s advisable that restaurants develop an organizational structure for commercial refrigerators and storerooms and integrate an itemized produce storage system.
If not segregated and refrigerated properly from other food items, vegetables are at risk of being exposed to harmful bacteria and germs, thereby causing the vegetables to be unfit for human consumption. Therefore, before prepping the food, you will need to wash the vegetables with clean water to remove all the mud and dust accumulated on them.
On the one hand, you have non-vegetarian items such as poultry, fish, and raw meat, which should be stored at the fridge’s bottom shelf to keep them from touching or dripping onto other foods. While on the other hand, you have the vegetables that should ideally be stored in a salad drawer securely wrapped in plastic or paper with air holes to protect from contamination.
Another factor to remember is that vegetables should not be used if they have surpassed their use-by date. Expired produce is hazardous because it means that bacteria have had a chance to grow. As a result, one should be mindful of the length of time that the vegetables have been lying in the freezer/fridge.
- Ensure that you store the vegetables at the appropriate temperatures to preserve the shelf life.
- Ensure that you wrap the vegetables in plastic or paper to prevent possible contamination.
- Avoid stacking the vegetable produce one on top of the other as this might shorten the lifespan of the vegetables.
- Do not keep vegetables stored in the freezer/fridge for too long as that can lead to the spread of bacteria and then contamination.
- Do not cut the produce unless you are ready to use them.
Different beverages are stored at different temperatures and have separate compartments even within the refrigerator to prevent bacteria spread and premature spoilage. Also, as drinks tend to form bacteria on their packaging quickly if combined with other content in the fridge, the risk of food spoilage and bacteria spread increases.
The storage of drinks and beverages varies from each type of drink. For example, aerated drinks and drinks with a high sugar concentration need to be refrigerated most times and served chilled. The same applies to packaged drinks as well. However, fresh juices and tea/coffee are best served as soon as they are made.
Store the drinks in appropriate containers. Airtight containers or bottles are preferred as they help keep the drink fresh for longer. However, packaged drinks like aerated drinks and any other type are best stored in a cool and dry place. Once opened, one should consume the beverages as soon as possible.
- Keep all beverages in airtight containers and bottles.
- Consume all packaged beverages as soon as you can once the seal is broken.
- Make sure the storage area is clean.
- Do not consume anything with a broken seal.
- Do not consume anything with a tampered packaging.
One of the requirements of maintaining the efficiency of a fridge is to keep the temperature of the refrigerator. It is best ensured only when the fridge is not left open for a long time. The warm air from outside disrupts the temperature of the vegetables and food kept inside, reducing their life and degrading their quality.
Refrigerators keep foods and beverages at a cool temperature, and in doing so, they help keep the food items fresh and preserve them for a prolonged time.
Therefore, keeping the refrigerator door open for a minimal time will reduce the possibility of wastage and spoilage.
If you leave the refrigerator open for too long, the temperature inside the fridge will begin to increase, and all the cooling will be released into thin air and cause the food to become warm. Keeping the refrigerator closed as much as possible will ensure that the inside of the fridge will remain at its appropriate temperatures and the cooling will stay longer, which will mean that the food inside won’t get spoiled. The same methods apply to the freezer as well. Keep in mind that certain foods such as poultry or seafood are pretty sensitive and tend to go bad rapidly if one doesn’t freeze them soon enough or if the freezer is open longer than it should be. Hence, the spoilage of the food will primarily depend on how long you hold the freezer/fridge door open and the type of food inside.
- Always keep the freezer/fridge door closed unless you need to take out or put in some item.
- Ensure that you store food and drinks at the appropriate temperatures.
- Do not leave the freezer/fridge open for too long as that will cause it to become defrosted, which might lead to water leakages.
- Avoid leaving the freezer/fridge open for a long time as the foods inside might get spoiled and make them inedible.
- Do not waste time in storing away sensitive and perishable items.
Machine on-off-idle time detection helps in determining for how long the machines are running. It helps ensure that the machines do not function beyond the designated time and contribute to keeping the devices in good condition for a longer time.
While the machine on/off time analyses whether or not, the machine is producing the expected output within the given scope of time, machine idle time, however, oversees the period of time wherein the machine is ready and available for usage but is not being used. The idle time is also known as the waiting time.
The machine on/off time focuses on the running hours of the machine and the length of time that they are used for. When you observe the usage time closely, you will be able to identify if the machines are being used appropriately within the running hours. The machine on/off time will help to ensure machines do not run beyond their designated time and capacity. Doing so would mean that the machines and the equipment remain in good condition and are sustainable for a long time.
The objective of any workplace is to ensure that idle time is minimized and eliminated. While idle time doesn’t necessarily equate to downtime, it essentially means that the machine isn’t doing any productive or constructive work. Sometimes, idle time is caused by a lack of raw materials, different workflows, power outages, or even a technical malfunction.
- Make sure to switch off the machine when it is not in use.
- Frequently check and maintain your machines so that there are no unexpected machine breakdowns.
- Do not put low-quality spare parts in your machines to reduce their deterioration.
- Do not stop your employees from taking appropriate breaks to avoid burnouts so that they can focus on their work properly.
Using color-coded knives and chopping boards for different food helps segregate food based on preferences, allergies, and eating habits. In addition, by using a color-coded knife and chopping board, the risk of cross-contamination and bacterial growth is reduced.
When working with food, one must undertake precautionary measures because the kitchen environment is vulnerable to various hazards such as food poisoning, allergies, and diseases. Hence, it’s crucial that you adopt the use of colored cutting boards and their matching knives to control these hazards so that they don’t impact the health and well-being of your customers.
Color-coded chopping boards and knives are an effective method to prevent foodborne illnesses or adverse allergic reactions. Following this is an essential component of food safety, as the colors will help the employees identify things in a busy kitchen quickly. In addition, a colored chopping board and its associated knife will indicate which particular food item one should use them for. The employees should never mix a specific set with other boards and knives.
Different chopping board colors exist to be able to contribute to better food safety. By observing a colored chopping board system, you will know that each board and knife will be used for a different type of food or a distinct food group. To put this into better perspective, a red chopping board and a red knife will have some other use than a green chopping board and a green knife.
Using colored boards and their matching knives will eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination by ensuring that high and low-risk foods, namely raw meat and salad vegetables, are stored separately. This segregation will mean that there are little chances of food poisoning as well as cross-contact between allergens.
- Ensure that you use different colored chopping boards with matching knives for various food items to prevent foodborne illnesses.
- Ensure that you rinse your boards and knives with hot water and soap after each use.
- Do not mix up one particular colored board with a different colored knife, as doing so might lead to cross-contamination.
- Do not use boards that are covered in scratches and have them replaced immediately.