What is the worst thing you have seen in a commercial kitchen?

When working with food control plans you get to see first hand the good, the bad and the down right nasty of the commercial kitchen. Due to the ever present search for the sensational, one thing we are often asked by friends, family, and the generally intrigued, is; what is the worst thing you have seen in a commercial kitchen?

I have spent much time deliberating on this.

Sure, I could tell you about 10 week old chicken in the walk in fridge. Or the time a cockroach fell from the ceiling into the dough mixer just as I was walking past (neither incident was in New Zealand thank goodness) but these rogue incidences are not the biggest threat to the food safety standards of your kitchen. Below are the three things we see most often leading to a kitchen having issues.

1. Complacency:

Complacency from yourself and your staff is the single biggest threat to the food safety of your kitchen.

Your lovely, organised and clean kitchen may give you a feeling of security. You probably had a great visit from your food safety inspector. That's great! However, when it comes to food safety too much self-satisfaction can be dangerous. The dangers and deficiencies of the commercial kitchen are ever changing. Don't let those changes catch you or your staff by surprise.

2. Lack of staff training:

Assuming your team know the right process to take when cleaning out the fridges or degreasing the appliances is a mistake. Regularly spend time with your staff going through the finer details of your cleaning schedule. Have you covered details such as:

  • Are there different cloths for different areas?

  • Is there a specific order things should be done in?

  • Where should food be stored while a cupboard/fridge/freezer are being cleaned?

It can be a really good idea to keep all of the details written down somewhere that is centrally located. This will mean staff can take responsibility if they are unsure. This will help keep your kitchen standards consistent.

3. Lack of accountability:

If no one is responsible for it, how will it get done to an acceptable standard?

Your food control plan is the perfect place to spell out exactly who does what and when. Get staff to tick it off as they complete it so everyone can see what has been done.

Of course a tick sheet is not simply enough on its own. Someone needs to be overseeing this list. Have any issues been reported? Was it completed to an acceptable standard at the right time? Is any further staff training required? Ask the questions and expect answers. can help your business create, implement and train your food control plan. If you feel you could use some advice on how to ensure you are compliant with the 2014 food act give us a shout on

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