Food service business during the pandemic – commercial dishwashing

Hygienically secure dishwashing during the pandemic

The Corona pandemic has been dominating our daily lives for more than a year now. Since then, hygiene and disinfection have taken on great importance in all areas of society. In the catering industry, this topic was an essential part of everyday work long before Corona and will continue to be so in the future.

The corona virus is an enveloped virus, which does not differ significantly from the known flu viruses in terms of hygienic handling. The coronavirus does not pose any particular challenge to the hygienically flawless washing process.

The virus reacts very sensitively to highly concentrated detergents and temperatures above 60°C. In all areas where commercial dishwashers are used, the common and standardized dishwashing parameters of the DIN standards are sufficient to achieve a hygienically impeccable and safe dishwashing result. However, it is not only a correctly set dishwasher that is important, the following factors must also be taken into account as a matter of priority.

Time, chemistry, temperature, mechanics:

A microbiologically safe result is achieved as soon as the four parameters are coordinated. Dishwashers should always be adjusted according to the respective manufacturer’s instructions, and cleaning and maintenance of the machine should also follow the manufacturer’s individual guidelines. Temperatures of 60-65°C in the wash tank (55-60°C if a detergent with chlorine carrier is used), in combination with a contact time of at least 120 seconds for multi-tank dishwashers and 90 seconds for single-tank dishwashers, ensure an optimum and safe wash result. The temperature in the rinse zone should be 80-85°C. A properly adjusted mechanism enables a constant detergent and rinse aid concentration during the entire rinsing process. Further, this ensures uniform wetting of the wash ware. Highly concentrated detergents such as etolit Compactreiniger 5000 and etolit 8000 work particularly effectively in combination with rinse aids such as etolit GT 200.  The water used in the rinsing process should of course be of drinking water quality.

Pre-clearing of the dishes:

The wash ware should be rinsed as soon as possible after use by a guest to prevent food residues from drying. Food residues that are brought in have a considerable influence on the wash result. There is a risk of recontamination here. Thorough pre-cleaning is recommended.

Loading of the dishwasher and program selection:

If possible, place the dishes in an optimal position on the wash ware carrier. The cutlery should be presorted in baskets to ensure even cleaning. In addition, the rinse program should be selected according to the degree of soiling and the amount of wash ware.

Staff/personal hygiene:

Of course, the usual hygiene rules in kitchens or food production should be observed. Careful and meticulous hand cleaning and disinfection is mandatory during the overall process for all persons involved. To prevent recontamination of the wash ware, “clean” and “unclean” areas should be separated. Persons entering the dirty dishes into the rinsing process should not remove the clean ones. Hand drying should be avoided whenever possible. By implementing these factors, a safe and hygienic dishwashing result with regard to the coronavirus is achieved in commercial dishwashing. This has also been confirmed by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the RKI (Robert Koch Institute).