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Guidelines for hygiene inspection (part 1): What do cleaning companies need to know nowadays
By Wadih El Feghali | 10.04.2012

Table of content:

  • Introduction
  • Personal hygiene
  • Before shift
  • During shift
  • End of shift
  • Uniforms
  • Hand washing
  • Kitchen layout
  • Receiving area, requirements and cleaning
  • Floor, requirements and cleaning


The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a hygienic practice developed to enhance food safety management, however many food handlers in Lebanon used to consider hygienic practices unnecessary and a big waste of money considering that applying those standards in fact is costly and requires much attention. 

Trying to avoid responsibility many food handling companies try to hire cleaning services companies to carry the load in their place forgetting at a certain point that the application of HACCP which in my opinion is far more effective and specialized than ISO is a team work and cannot be achieved by cleaning companies alone but requires more focus and attention from them since in the end they don’t have a well trained supervisor on site and the application itself is a way of life that does not stand on the shoulders of stewards alone but all people working within the kitchen and the facility in general, all people coming in contact or even in presence of food from raw material to ready to eat.

In the end a certain responsibility lies on the cleaning company, since they are the only members who most probably will be at all areas of the food flow and could cause cross contamination at any point. So cleaning companies should be pioneers in applying this sophisticated system which eventually will reach all food handlers especially after what has been happening lately in Lebanon and the growing awareness at Lebanese consumers for the risk they face every day due to unprofessional and careless people who are preparing their meals or working with them.

In this study I will try to clarify as shortly as possible some of the things that all people and especially stewards and cleaning staff should know to be pioneers in this industry. 



Personal Hygiene:

All kitchen staff should abide by the following personal hygiene guideline:

a) Before shift

1- Showering or bathing before coming to work

2- Brushing teeth and maintaining oral hygiene

  • Wearing clean personal clothing such as socks & underwear
  • Wearing a clean regulation kitchen uniform specified by the company
  • Wearing clean socks and closed shoes suitable for long hours of standing
  • espect guidelines for hygienic hands as mentioned in appendix
  • Having clean hair, tied back if long and covered in a regulation cap or hair net
  • Trimming and keeping beards (if allowed) clean
  • Removing all jewelry except plain wedding ring
  • Making sure any cuts are clean, not infected and covered
  • Ensuring that staff with open or infected cuts or sores does not work with work with food

b) During shift

  • No non‐uniform personal clothing should be worn
  • Hair must be kept covered you may use a cap, chef’s hat or other hair restraints. We strongly recommend the exclusive use of hairnets.
  • No licking fingers or tasting food by using the finger
  • If food must be tasted, it must be placed in a separate dish and tasted with a clean utensil. Dish and utensil should then be sent to be washed
  • No smoking in the kitchen
  • No chewing gum while working with food
  • No picking noses or spitting anywhere in the kitchen. Use a disposable paper.
  • Do not pick at sores, pimples or skin irritations

c) End of shift

  • Make sure the work area has been left clean and sanitized
  • Follow establishment’s procedure for having used uniform cleaned
  • Leave changing room area clean and neat

d) Special care for hands:

  • Keep fingernails short and clean
  • Do not wear false finger nails
  • Do not wear nail polish
  • Cuts and wounds:

 Clean and disinfect wound or cut

‐            Cover wound or cut with bandage

‐            Cover bandage with clean gloves or finger cots

‐           Preferably, move employee to a task that does not involve contact with food or food‐contact surfaces





a) General Requirements

1- Clothing

  • Food production staff is required to wear a complete and clean uniform. Chefs "whites" and checked pants are standard in many operations.
  • Uniforms should be of a light color showing up any dirt or food splashes.
  • Uniforms should not have pockets or parts that may be detached and fall into food (buttons…) 
  • Employees should only change into clothing worn for production purposes once they have arrived at work. Change room facilities for this should be provided on the premises.
  • Production uniforms must always be clean at the beginning of a shift and in good condition. Clothing items that are torn or have buttons missing should not be worn Aprons should be removed when leaving food preparation areas or when using


2- Hair Covering

  • Hair must be covered with a chef’s hat or hair net to prevent hair falling into food or bacteria from the hair contaminating food.
  • In the case of long hair it should be tied back. This not only prevents hair falling into food, but discourages touching of the hair and transferring bacteria from hair to hands.
  • Hair nets should be available at kitchen entrances


  • Shoes worn in the kitchen must be:

            ‐ Closed‐toe

            ‐ Have flat non‐slip souls

            ‐ Provide support for the foot

            ‐ Be comfortable to wear for long periods



  • All jewelry and accessories should be removed prior to entering the kitchen
  • The only allowable exception is limited to a plain wedding band

5-Perfume and Cosmetics

  • Apart from a standard deodorant perfumes are not used by staff while working on food production

b) Cleaning

  • Uniforms should be properly cleaned and sanitized
  • It is strongly recommended that the establishment takes on the responsibility of cleaning the staff uniforms and that it is done by professionals
  • Employees who clean their own uniforms should be instructed on proper methods including proper washing and drying

c) Storage

  • Clean uniforms should be stored in a manner that keeps them clean and away from possible contaminants (dust, dirt, splashes…)
  • If employees clean their own uniforms, they should transport them to the establishment in a clean bag or pack to maintain them clean and protected

When aprons or uniforms are removed during a shift (restrooms, break..), they should be hung in a clean place away from contaminants


Hand washing:

a) How to wash hands

  • Only wash hands at designated hand washing stations (should abide to requirements)
  • Wet hands and forearms with hot running water (as hot as u can handle, at least 38°C)
  • Use enough soap to lather
  • Rub both hands and each arm together for minimum of 20 seconds
  • Clean under fingernails (use scrubbing brush, if available)
  • Rinse off soap thoroughly under hot water
  • Turn off tap using paper towel
  • Dry both hands and arms using paper towel. Make sure hands are completely dried
  • Sanitize hands with food quality sanitizer

b) When to wash hands

 Follow hand washing procedure before starting work and after:

‐ Visiting the toilet

‐ Blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing

‐ A smoke break

‐ Removing gum from your mouth

‐ Handling your hair

‐ Touching uniform or apron

‐ Handling garbage or dirty surfaces and items

‐ Using gloves (before and after)

‐ Changing from working with one product to another, before and after (raw meat to fish for example)

‐ Changing tasks

‐ Handling any product you think may be contaminated

‐ Handling chemicals or cleaning equipment


Kitchen Layout:

a) General requirements

  • The general design of the facility and layout should allow easy cleaning
  • Place equipment and machines in a manner that allows easy access for daily cleaning.
  • A work flow must be established that minimizes the amount of time food spends in the temperature danger zone and the number of times food is handled (storage areas near receiving area, preparation tables near fridges and freezers…)
  • Facilities should be arranged so that contact with contaminated sources (garbage, dirty tableware…) is unlikely to occur
  • Ready‐to‐eat food should not meet raw food or dirty items
  • Dirty equipment should not be placed where it could touch clean equipment or food
  • All equipment such as preparation tables should be made of material that is durable, cleanable and non absorbent (wood is not allowed)

b) Entrances and exits

  • Entrances and exit doors should be kept closed at all times
  • Door leading to receiving dock may only be kept open during the time goods are being received
  • Windows should be closed at all times or be fitted with screen 6mech to the cm


Receiving area:

a) General Requirements

  • Receiving area should be clean at all times (exception: when merchandise is being

unloaded, or has just finished being unloaded)

  • Trays and trolleys should be food grade
  • Area should be well lit
  • Area should include a location for de‐boxing
  • Area should be large enough to accommodate inspection of goods
  • Area should be the closest possible to storage area


b) Cleaning

  • Trays and trolleys should be cleaned and sanitized after each unloading and between 2 different kinds of merchandise (vegetables and meat for example)
  • Receiving area and all equipment used for that purpose should be cleaned as soon as possible after merchandise is cleared


a) General Requirements

1- Floors should be strong, durable and easy to clean

2-Floors should resist tear and prevent slips

3-Floors should be non‐porous and non‐absorbent namely in walk‐ins, food preparation

areas, dishwashing areas, restrooms and any other area subject to moisture, flushing or

spray cleaning

4-Rubber mats are allowed in areas where standing water occurs (dishwashing area)

5-Coving is required (coving is a curved sealed edge placed between the floor and the

wall to eliminate hard corners and facilitate cleaning)


b) Cleaning

  • Floors should be cleaned before and after each shift
  • Spills should be cleaned up immediately
  • On peak, a slightly unclean floor is tolerated
  • Rubber mats should be picked up and cleaned separately when scrubbing floors
  • Floors should be swept clean, moped with detergent solution, excess water should

be removed then floor should be rinsed with clean water and mop


Walls and ceilings:

a) General Requirements

  • Material used should be easy to clean and non porous
  • Walls and ceilings in food preparation areas must be light in color to distribute light and make it easier to spot soil when cleaning
  • Possible materials to be used: ceramic tiles, vinyl or stainless steel. For ceilings:

painted drywall, painted plaster

  • Support structures for walls and ceilings (studs, joists..) and pipes should not be

exposed unless they are finished and sealed for cleaning


b) Cleaning

  • Walls should be cleaned weekly, or during every deep cleaning of the kitchen

(whichever is more frequent)

  • Ceilings should be cleaned when they become dusty or soiled and at least once a


  • Spills and splatters should be wiped clean immediately
  • Walls and ceiling around grills and fryers should be cleaned more frequently
  • Hoods and other vents should be thoroughly cleaned at least weekly to avoid grease


  • When cleaning walls or ceilings, Protect food, equipment and nearby supplies from



Wall cleaning:

  • Tile and stainless‐steel surfaces:
  • Clean by spraying or sponging with a detergent solution
  • Use a nylon scrub brush to clean dried‐on soil or grease
  • Rinse with clean water
  • Other wall surfaces such as painted dry wall:
  • Use a wet cloth to clean
  • Ceiling cleaning:
  • Check ceilings and light fixtures daily to ensure that spider web, dust, dirt or

condensation will not fall and contaminate food or food‐contact surfaces


  • Wipe and rinse ceilings and light fixtures with a cloth
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