By Derek Maher from Crystaltech
Warewashers are the Cinderella’s of the kitchen – they work hard and are often mistreated by busy staff. Yet they are one of the appliances which are relied on the most. How and what food is presented on is really important within the catering industry – a dirty plate or smeared glass does not give a good impression of the cleanliness of a business and can result in the loss of customers.
Derek Maher from Crystaltech is the UK’s leading expert in achieving perfect warewashing results within the pub, bar and catering industry.
Glasswashers and dishwashers can be the main source of cross contamination within the catering environment, if the right combination of chemicals and temperature is not achieved.
“Many glasswasher detergents are too caustic and cause cloudy looking etching on glasses or, are too weak and leave behind unhygienic residual dirt/proteins,” says Maher.
Crystaltech has exclusively developed a reverse osmosis (RO) system which pushes purified water through the wash cycle, which requires fewer chemicals at lower temperatures to deliver perfect results and can reduce the need for cleaning chemicals by 70%, making it a much more energy efficient proposition. It also removes the need to hand polish glassware post wash, therefore saving valuable staff time and potentially transferring germs with cleaning cloths.
With recent news regarding the serious implications of E.coli poisoning from food consumed at catering outlets, Crystaltech is able to offer operators “Rapid Hygiene Monitoring” of their warewashing equipment. Glass and tableware should be visually free of residues after the cleaning process. However, visual assessment is only one of the tools to judge if a surface is clean. Traditional testing for microorganisms/bacteria provides more information but this is related more to the effectiveness of disinfection rather than cleaning and results take weeks to be analysed in a laboratory environment.
The new rapid hygiene testing system delivers on-site results within minutes. The swab test can detect if a warewashing machine is cleaning to the expected standard and is therefore safe to use. The bioluminescence test for adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) has been developed to measure the effectiveness of cleaning as it measures ATP from both microorganisms and from product/surface residues and is therefore a reliable hygiene test.
To lengthen the life and maintain the output of a warewasher, Maher advises that staff are given training on the basics of keeping dishwashers clean, including loading properly and using the right level of chemicals. Daily cleaning of the filters and inside of cabinet and ensuring that the chemicals are topped up and machines are kept clean and food residue is removed prior to loading are all key factors in using warewashers in the best possible way.
In terms of preventative maintenance, Maher takes a different stance to the standard industry message. “We don’t recommend that preventative maintenance is carried out on the range of machines up to pass-through because when we go to a site, we not only repair the fault but we do a mini preventative maintenance on them to bring the machine up to full standard. The industry tends to be driven by Key Performance Indicators and the major one we are measured on is first-time fix. However, what this means is that a lot of companies will go in, fix the fault and close the job down to achieve their targets, even though there are still other problems with the machine. This can actually reduce the life of the equipment.”
Crystataltech works with several high-profile food chains and has proved that by taking this stance and carrying out a thorough repair on the call-out, this has led to a reduction in the number of calls by approximately 20 – 25%.