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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

What's Your Sanitation Schedule Look Like? (AKA: Holiday cheer!)

Sanitation is necessary, not a "special" thing

I don’t have cable at my house, so I don’t watch a lot of television with commercials. However, when I travel, as I did recently, I often turn on the TV in my hotel room for a little bit. Being the holiday season, there are tons of commercials on TV, trying to sell me the latest holiday gifts. Maybe because it’s 2020, I noticed a lot of things I wouldn’t think of as special holiday gifts: windshield wipers for vehicles, socks, and dishes. Even our furry friends aren’t left out, I have seen ads for food dishes, leashes, and collars. To me, these things seem necessities, not special once a year items. Are you treating your sanitation program as a necessity or something special to be done on occasion?

windshield wiper
Not on my holiday wish list

Like windshield wipers, sanitation is necessary to be safe. If it’s raining and I can’t see out my car window, I’m going to get in an accident. Especially if you are manufacturing, storing, or serving food, standards say food must not be “held under insanitary conditions”. Wipers clear your window so you can see (and drive safely), sanitation cleans your area so you can see what’s going on and can safely process, store, and serve items. Having poor sanitation also encourages pests and gives them food resources to increase their populations. Customers demand high quality food that is free from insects, rodent hairs, and other contaminants. A good sanitation program keeps a facility safe from pests, bad audit scores, and recalls.

Probably not the right tool

Socks don’t last forever and you have to buy new ones when the old ones start to get holes and are no longer covering your feet. Sanitation works best when you have the right tools that are working correctly. Brooms, vacuums, dustpans don’t last forever. You have to replace them regularly when they start to break down. I was using my dustpan the other day and realized it wasn’t sitting flat to the floor anymore and it was chipped around the edges. It was taking me much more time and effort to sweep up the flour I had spilled all over the floor than if I had a new, properly working dustpan. Replace your socks on a regular basis, and replace your sanitation equipment too. And like socks, buying a good, high-quality pair will last you a lot longer, even though it may cost a bit more. Consider the cost vs. benefit of buying inexpensive tools.

My CFO (Chief Feline Officer) Max says sometimes it's okay to spend more.

Imagine ordering food at a restaurant and the server comes out with a big pan and puts your order of fish and chips on the table in front of you. No plate, no glass for your water, no napkins. Dishes are necessary to contain your meal so you can successfully eat it. Trash bins and dumpsters are often overlooked when it comes to sanitation. You need suitable and intact places to put the waste you are cleaning up. I worked with a restaurant that was having a large issue with large flies, mostly house flies. These filth-breeding flies were getting into the kitchen area in large numbers and starting to get into dining areas. Out the back door from the kitchen was the dumpster the kitchen used for all the trash. I was told it was emptied on a regular basis and was never to the point of overflowing. However, the dumpster was rusted out on the bottom and there were large holes in the bottom corners.

leaking dumpster

Food waste was leaking out those opening and the concrete pad underneath and surrounding area was soaked with grease and decomposing food. Prime habitat for a huge infestation of flies. The maggots were living in the rotting, decaying leakage and the resulting adults were happily flying into the restaurant. Needless to say, the restaurant contacted the trash company, they replaced the dumpster, the area was cleaned (as well as possible) and that went a long way in mitigating the problem.

Don’t treat sanitation like a special project that only gets done on a holiday. Make sure the master sanitation schedule is current, covers all areas, and is being followed. Have the right tools and ensure they are in good, working order. Being 2020, I could almost understand toilet paper being a special holiday gift, but sanitation isn’t!

However, if someone wants to buy me these socks, that would be pretty special!

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