Over recent years, there have been vast improvements in hygiene standards within the catering industry; however this is no cause for complacency. One often overlooked area in the catering industry is that of food preparation surfaces. Although cleaned and disinfected, wear and tear inevitably leaves many surfaces worn and scratched and therefore vulnerable to bacterial harbouring.
There are two main types of food poisoning, infectious agents and toxic agents. The vast majority of reported cases stem from infectious agents which take the form of harmful bacteria or microbes that become attached to food and subsequently infect the body. The vast majority of these instances can be traced to poor hygiene standards.
Stainless steel is probably the most common material used in food preparation environments. For the chemically minded, stainless steel is an iron based alloy which contains a minimum of 10.5 percent chromium and a maximum of 1.2 percent carbon. The chromium content provides a protective layer of chromium oxide on the surface, also known as the passive film or layer. However, to be suitable for use in food preparation areas, a minimum chromium content of 18 percent is recommended.
All grades of stainless steel will stain and discolour due to surface deposits and can never be accepted as completely maintenance free. To achieve maximum corrosion resistance the surface of the stainless steel must be kept clean. Provided the cleaning schedules are carried out on a regular basis, good performance and long service life are assured. Stainless steel equipment is easier to clean than other materials such as polymers and aluminium, and has comparable hygienic qualities to glass.
Teknomek is Europe’s leading manufacturer of catering stainless steel furniture and equipment, providing high quality and cost-effective stainless steel solutions to industry hygiene requirements. To view Teknomek products and for more information, visit www.teknomek.co.uk
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