As warmer weather returns in many parts of North America, one thing that restaurants, school cafeterias, and all commercial kitchens must be aware of is the return of insects.
Many insects hide during the cold winter months, but warmer weather brings them out in force.
“One of the big concerns with ‘creepy crawly’ pests in food service facilities is that they carry foodborne illness,” says Mike Watt, with Avmor, one of the oldest cleaning chemical manufacturers in North America. “E. Coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, can all be spread by insects.”
Watt suggests that an increased focus on floor care is one of the best ways to keep these invaders out. As to how to do this, here are his suggestions:
1. Cleanup spills immediately. “Many commercial kitchen floors are porous. They absorb food spills and moisture, which attracts bugs.”
2. Clean all floor drains. This is rarely performed, but the underside of floor drains can get coated with sediment, grease, oil, and food that attract bugs. “Take drains out and clean them about once per week.”
3. Vacuum kitchen floors. “Every couple of weeks, vacuum a dry kitchen floor. This helps remove soil and food particulates in cracks, corners, and crevices.”
4. Eliminate clutter. “Insects like to hide in clutter. Removing clutter is a big first step in eliminating pests.”
5. Use “digesting” cleaning solutions. Food particulates get lodged in the pores of the floor as well as cracks, corners, and grout, “one of the most effective ways to eradicate them is with bio-cleaning agents. These cleaning solutions digest organic soils in hard to reach areas and continue working for days after cleaning.”
Watt adds that cleaning solutions that digest soils also help promote floor safety.
“Embedded [food] particulates collect grease and oil, making them slippery,” he says. “This is one reason there are so many slip-and-fall accidents in commercial kitchens.”