Public Health Reason #14
It is critical that all plumbing fixtures and water and sewer lines in food establishments be maintained in proper working order. Poorly maintained plumbing systems may result in potential heath hazard such as cross connections, the backup of sewage, or leakage. These conditions may directly result in the contamination of food, equipment, utensils or paper goods. They can also adversely affect the ability of food handlers to adequately wash their hands, an establishment’s ware washing operations, and increase the potential for cross-contamination of food and equipment and utensils.
The proper storage and disposal of garbage and refuse is necessary to minimize insect, rodent, and odor problems. Improperly handled garbage and refuse creates nuisance conditions, makes housekeeping difficult, and can result in the contamination of food, equipment, and utensils. Garbage and refuse should be removed from the food establishment daily. It should be stored in clean, covered, and leak proof trash cans, dumpsters, or compactors that prevent the scattering of the garbage and refuse by birds. Garbage and refuse must not attract, harbor, or act as a breeding place for flies and rodents. Recyclable materials must be handled in the same manner as garbage and refuse so as to minimize orders, insects, and rodents. Recyclable materials, garbage, and refuse must be removed from the premises at least once a week.
Floors must be kept clean and free of any buildup of food spills, dirt, and refuse. The accumulation of soil on floors increases the potential for contamination of food, equipment, and utensils. It also provides food and harborage for rodents and insects, such as flies and cockroaches. To facilitate easy cleaning, floors must be maintained and constructed to be smooth, durable, non-absorbent and easily cleanable. Floor-wall junctures must be tightly coved with concave cove base to prevent moisture and food residue from collecting in corners and along walls. Utility penetrations must be sealed to eliminate insect and rodent harborage and to prevent moisture penetrating into or through the floor.
Walls and ceilings must be kept clean and free of any buildup of food spills, splash, or dirt. The accumulation of soil on walls and ceilings increases the potential for contamination of food, equipment, and utensils. It also provides a food source for rodents, and insects, such as flies and cockroaches. To facilitate easy cleaning, walls and ceilings must be maintained and constructed to be smooth, durable, non-absorbent, and easily cleanable. Utilities, such as water pipes, sewer lines, and electrical conduit, are to be enclosed within or behind finished walls and ceilings. Utility penetrations must be sealed to eliminate insect and rodent harborage and to prevent moisture from penetrating into walls and ceilings. Exposed utility lines make cleaning difficult.
Light levels are specified so that sufficient light is available to enable workers to read labels; identify toxic materials; recognize the condition of food, utensils, and other supplies; work safely; and evaluate cleaning. Sufficient light makes the need for cleaning apparent by making any accumulation of food spills and other soil conspicuous. Lights that are shielded, coated, or shatter-resistant help prevent breakage and contamination of food, clean equipment, utensils, and single-service items from fragments of glass, should a bulb break.
Adequate ventilation is very important in maintaining a high level of sanitation in a food establishment. A poorly ventilated kitchen is generally very hot and can contribute to refrigeration not being capable of holding foods at less than 410F. Insect and rodent infestations may occur if doors and windows are left open in an attempt to cool the establishment. Worker hygiene may be affected by sweat dripping into food or onto food contact surfaces, or by contaminating hands when wiping the face. Soiling of walls, ceilings, and equipment surfaces with smoke, grease and moisture may also result. Make-up air and exhaust systems may require more frequent repairs. Carbon monoxide can reach dangerous levels if back-draft of gas appliances, such as water heaters, occurs as a result of inadequate ventilation.
Coats, handbags, shoes, and other personal items that belong to employees can be a source of food, equipment, and utensil contamination if not properly stored. Personal items must be kept separate from food, preparation areas, ware washing areas, and utensils. Lockers, coat hooks, or an approved designated area must be provided so workers can properly store their personal belongings.
The premises in and around a food establishment must be maintained in an orderly fashion to prevent attracting and harboring rodents and insects. Premises must be free of litter and the accumulation of unnecessary articles, including old unused equipment. Some items not necessary for the daily operation of the establishment can be stored on-premise, but must be stored in an orderly fashion to prevent contamination and to permit cleaning of storage areas. Brooms, mops, vacuum cleaners, and other maintenance equipment can contribute to the contamination of food and food contact surfaces. These items must also be stored in a manner that prevents contamination and does not lead to harborage and breeding of rodents and insects.