Mold in a Restaurant?
There’s so much to love about a restaurant; tantalizing aromas, delicious food and a luxurious ambience. Unfortunately, the presence of mold can also be high up on the list of what to expect from a restaurant – especially if certain precautions are not taken.
Between the ovens, stoves and storage equipment (read: water and steam) that is the very fabric of a restaurant kitchen, a high humidity environment is created that is prime real estate for mold.
Restaurant mold is particularly troubling – not only for the obvious reasons but also because keeping food quarantined in this environment is near impossible. As a business owner, you have a legal responsibility to the staff which are in your employ, and as a food establishment you must ensure that all hygiene standards are met.
Luckily, as per usual, we’re here to help you ensure your restaurant is mold-free at all times by following these top tips:
- Monitor moisture-friendly areas. Regularly clean and look out for signs of mold or mildew underneath sinks and around refrigeration units to keep humidity at bay.
- Don’t abandon hidden spaces – in fact, it’s in the little nooks and crannies that people won’t necessarily see that mold is most likely to rear its ugly head. Mold can appear on walls, floors, ceilings and even inside air conditioning ducts.
- Keep humidity levels low. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends keeping indoor humidity levels between 30-50%.
- Maintain ventilation. There are few places that a clean and properly working ventilation system are more important than a restaurant kitchen as proper ventilation reduces the amount of moisture and other contaminants in the air that can encourage mold to grow. According to Arista Air Conditioning, “buildings are more air-tight and better insulated for energy efficiency” meaning humidity is increased, yet “modern equipment only uses 10 to 15 percent of its capacity for humidity control.” They advise ensuring that you always have the right size unit for the space.
- Keep food fresh. A restauranteur’s primary concern should be preventing moldy food and disposing it as soon as any is found. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that food is kept away from mold at all times to avoid contamination. It should go without saying, but ensuring all food storage areas are clean and stock regularly replenished is a must. Read how to keep fruit and vegetables fresher for longer here.
- Schedule professional inspections. Prevention is key, so the importance of investing in regular spot checks by those who know what to look for cannot be underestimated.
Help! I’ve Found Mold!
You really can’t take any chances when it comes to publicly serving food, so if you even have the sneakiest suspicion that your restaurant may have a mold problem, call in the experts immediately.
That’s because as well as being just horrible to look at, mold can cause a whole host of health problems, from skin and eye irritation to asthma, bronchitis and even cancer – if exposed long enough. Forget costing your restaurant’s reputation with hefty fines or a complete shutdown; a neglected mold problem can seriously endanger the lives of both your staff and customers.