April 2, 2020

Great Sanitation is More Important Than Ever

Sanitation has always been important in bakeries and other food service establishments. But now, the stakes are even higher.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused bakeries and other foodservice establishments to temporarily close their doors around the world, with the exception of takeout service. When doors reopen, consumers and regulators will most likely demand ever-higher sanitation standards. Sanitation, in fact, may make the difference between businesses that survive and those that shutter their doors forever.

Read on for a few tips on sanitation. For a deeper dive, explore our online pastry arts courses, or download a guide to our baking & pastry education programs.

A Visibly Clean Bakery is a Marketing Advantage

Of course, maintaining a visibly clean and tidy bakery has always been important. Well-kept food service establishments outperform unkempt establishments even in normal times. That’s why sanitation practices that keep the workplace clean and orderly have always been essential. They protect employees and customers, maintain regulatory compliance and ensure that your bakery turns out consistently great products.

Students working toward a degree or diploma in baking and pastry learn many important lessons in preparing delicious treats and artisanal loaves of bread. They also learn the importance of meeting the highest standards for food safety and sanitation.

Keep these essential guidelines in mind as you explore the possibilities of a career in baking:

Personal Hygiene is Crucial

“Good sanitation starts with every individual.”

Good sanitation starts with every individual who works in a bakery. Careful attention to personal hygiene makes all the difference in keeping food free of any pathogens that staff members could carry on their bodies, hair or clothes. Every bakery should establish and enforce strict standards of cleanliness for all employees, especially those who come into direct contact with ingredients or finished items.

Common rules for bakery workers include directives to always come into the business wearing clean clothing and keep a hairnet on throughout the day. It is a requirement that all employees wash their hands before touching ready-to-eat items such as pastries or bread, before food preparation, after handling raw ingredients and any time they visit the bathroom.

Wash Utensils and Surfaces

Dirty kitchen utensils or surfaces that come into contact with food can become major hazards. Cooking and baking professionals always have to be on the lookout for cross-contamination, which can be dangerous to customers. Carelessly using the same tools or cutting boards for different tasks without cleaning them might lead to foodborne illness or an unexpected allergic reaction.

In addition, any items that are left dirty might attract insects or rodents. The last thing you want is pests making themselves at home in your bakery. Thorough, regular cleaning is an essential line of defense against serious health risks.

Stay on Top of Equipment Maintenance

Bakers rely on an array of machines to prepare their goods efficiently, such as mixers, dough shelters, and bread slicers. In some cases, it may be a challenge to take a machine apart and keep it clean. Still, it’s important to take the time to perform these tasks on a regular basis, so pieces of food aren’t left inside.

It’s particularly vital to keep proofing cabinets clean. These warm environments are ideal for allowing bread to rise before baking, but they can also be hospitable spots for bacteria. Bakeries should have a policy of washing out proofing cabinets with warm water and mild soap on a daily basis.

Cleaning out storage and properly disposing of waste keeps a bakery running smoothly.

A women baker working in a bakery

Properly Store All Food

Refrigeration and freezing units are a top priority for sanitation efforts. That starts with keeping cold storage at the right temperatures and covering food before placing it inside. Strict first-in, first-out practices and labeling procedures can head off many potential issues with improper handling or spoilage.

For walk-in coolers and freezers, always switch off the lights when no one is inside. You’ll save on your electricity bill and make it easier for the unit to keep food at the necessary temperature. Employees should follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regularly cleaning out refrigerators and freezers and dispose of any food that is no longer usable.

As cases of COVID-19 continue to spread, food service businesses must demonstrate the highest standards of cleanliness in order to protect customers and employees.

Developing skills in the baking and pastry arts is about more than making fantastic breads, pastries and cakes. It’s also about learning how to keep a business functioning at its best and meeting the demands of routine maintenance and sanitation.

With the right training and experience, you can turn a love of baking into a rewarding and sustainable career. Given the current world circumstances, you might consider our online pastry school.

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This article was originally published on May 31, 2018, and has since been updated.