Useful kitchen appliance or haven for bacteria?
Unless regularly cleaned and sanitised, the humble microwave oven in the staff lunchroom can become a hot bed of bacteria and possible source of norovirus and salmonella, the most common infectious forms of food-borne illness.
The problem with not only, the microwave but all other communal kitchen equipment, is that unless there is a designated roster or specific person to clean the appliance, it invariably gets missed.
Back to the microwave and we’ve seen some shockers !
Some of the most common problems are;
- Staff put items in the microwave uncovered
- The item heats and in most cases, over heats
- Food items bubble and spit leaving residue on the walls and roof
- Food items spill over the container used to heat the food
- They walk away leaving the next person to clean it….which doesn’t happen
- After a week of use in a busy staff room and uncleaned over that period, the chances of rancid and possibly infected residual food contaminating other food being reheated, is very high. Look at it this way, if someone was to leave a dirty saucepan on the stove overnight, would you place last night’s left overs in it to reheat? No you wouldn’t. There is not much difference in reheating food items in a contaminated microwave oven and of course you can’t put it in the dishwasher or stick it in the sink to clean it.
So what’s the solution to the problem?
Ensure cleaning and sanitising inside the microwave is included in the specification for the regular cleaning. Make sure it’s done daily.
If the cleaning service is only carried out once per week, a staff roster needs to be created to ensure the oven is thoroughly wiped out daily.
Cleaning Tip: To remove food residual from walls and roof of oven, place a bowl of 50/50 water and vinegar inside and set to run for a couple of minutes. Allow the water to boil and then sit for 5-10 mins. Even baked on food will be easy to wipe off and the acetic acid not only has sanitising properties but also deodorises the oven.