Food premises and kitchen design

Food premises and kitchen design is key to food safety and the smooth running of any food business.

The design of any area used to prepare food must be done with food safety and health & safety in mind.

Often premises evolve or are converted from other uses. An understanding of health & safety and food safety will help to ensure that the final design flows well and in a smooth line from goods in to despatch of the finished food.

A good design will adhere to the law of the land where the food is being produced, as well as keep the food and team safe. For UK guidance, the Food Standards Agency (and Food Standards Scotland) have guidance on their respective websites.

The law for food premises and kitchen design

In the UK, the law requires that the layout, design, construction and size of food premises should:

allow the premises to be cleaned and disinfected easily

protect against the build-up of dirt and toxic materials,

prevent dirt or other contaminants getting into the food and stop condensation or allow mould growth on surfaces

allow good food hygiene practices to take place

prevent pest access and prevent them living in your premises

ensure you can keep the food being prepared cold or hot whilst it is being prepared, stored and before it is sold. (Cold means less than 8C in all of the UK (except Scotland) and less than 5C in Scotland). Best practice is less than 5C.

 

Food flow

Food should flow from delivery or goods in to despatch without going backwards or when cooked, crossing the path of raw food. In factories, particularly where ready to eat food is prepared, there will be different zones. These are usually physically separated by walls or equipment, with separate entrances for staff. For catering kitchens. Nisbets has a good article for reference here

Food storage 

This may be in refrigerated areas or in dry stores. or high value goods, such as spices and alcohol, a lockable area may be required.  Keep chemicals used for cleaning away from food in a locked cupboard or room. Try to ensure that the storage flows through as part of the process.

Staff facilities

Your team will need space to store their personal belongings in a secure place, whilst they are working. Toilets must not open directly into a food preparation space and should be in the same or a connected building. Toilets must also be adequately ventilated. It is also good practice for the team working in food production have space to hang up their protective clothing or PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) before using the toilets. Naturally, hand wash facilities must be available for use before and after using the toilet . In manufacturing and larger food premises, a separate rest room or canteen may be provided where there are fridges and cooking facilities.

Lighting

Consider the amount of lighting required for each area and when the area will be used, if natural light is available. Use plastic diffusers to shield from bulb breakage and ensure that these are cleaned and are included on any glass and plastic registers that you maintain. Lighting should only be changed outside of food preparation times and any breakages handled in accordance with any glass breakage procedures in place.

Walls and floors 

Floors and walls should be resistant to grease, food particles and water. Walls must be smooth and even and easy to clean. Floor and wall junctions should ideally be curved, to reduce corners, where dirt can accumulate. Floors should be slip resistant and easy to clean. Floors should also not allow water and other fluids to pool. Where windows can be opened, install fly screens.  

Drainage

 As with ventilation, drainage should have enough capacity and also flow from clean to dirty areas or cooked to raw. You may need to consider grease treatment as part of your waste management. Typically, this would be considered as part of your drainage as well as with waste management as a whole. If there are open gullies, the gaps need to be such that there is no possibility of trip hazards being created. Any drain covers which need to be lifted must have the correct tools to handle them safely. Floors should slope towards drains. Traps will also help with managing foul smells and preventing solid matter flowing into drains. These may need to be managed as part of your hygiene tasks.

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