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Why Food Hygiene Regulations Require Kitchen Extraction Cleaning

If you have ever walked into a restaurant and walked back out again because of the greasy smell in the air, chances are they need to clean their kitchen extract system.

Kitchen extraction cleaning is a legal requirement of any commercial kitchen. 70% of fires that break out in commercial kitchens have been proven to have been caused by faults in dirty or unmaintained extractor systems.
Kitchen extract ductwork may not be top of the list when thinking about good hygiene, but it should be. Not only does poor ductwork cleanliness affect your staff, but it also poses a health risk to your customers too.

Let’s take a look at some of the regulated cleaning requirements for commercial restaurants.

Adequate Ventilation

Every commercial kitchen is required under food hygiene regulations to have effective ventilation systems.
Kitchen extract systems require regular ductwork cleaning and maintenance and according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, or as follows:

  • Heavy use (12-16 hours per day) – clean every three months.
  • Moderate use (6-12 hours per day) – clean every six months.
  • Light use (2-6 hours per day) – clean every 12 months.

TR19® Grease specification states that kitchen extracts should be cleaned when 200 microns of grease are present within the kitchen extraction system as an average across the remaining ductwork system. Areas in excess of 500 microns of grease require immediate attention.
Meeting the regulations of proper ventilation and kitchen extraction cleaning is important to ensure a safe and healthy working environment. With proper maintenance and cleaning of your systems, you will also reduce the risk of fires breaking out within the ductwork.

Reasons to Ventilate

Apart from it being required by law, adequate ventilation systems in your kitchen are beneficial for several reasons. 

  • Clean air reduces skin and eye irritations, as well as respiratory issues among your staff.
  • Proper ventilation helps keep a comfortable temperature in the kitchen. This, in turn, creates a more pleasant working environment. A better work situation equals a lower staff turnover rate.
  • Good ventilation prevents the build-up of fumes and other airborne particles. In extreme cases, bad ventilation can cause carbon monoxide build-up in the air. Carbon monoxide is odourless and extremely dangerous, even life-threatening.
  • Improves air quality, benefiting not only the staff but also customers who are seated closer to the kitchen area.

Why Do You Need Kitchen Extraction Cleaning?

Without kitchen extraction cleaning, your ventilation system is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. This can pose an environmental risk to both staff and customers. Dirty vents can also entice rodents and other unwelcome visitors.
Failure to properly comply with TR19® Grease is a breach of the Environmental Health Regulations and can lead to your insurance company invalidating your fire insurance.
What Is TR19® Grease?
TR19® Grease is a BESA (Building Engineering Services Association) specification which must be adhered to. It was developed in 1988, it is now the standard to which most insurance companies and building engineers expect when assessing cleanliness.
TR19® Grease cleaning details the process of cleaning, including access panel guidance, as well as the cleaning process and post-cleaning verification. The TR19® Grease specification has been continually updated so you must stay in the know about what is required by the latest protocol.
Access Panels
The ductwork must contain the correct number of access panels of the correct size and quality. This is to ensure regular cleaning and inspections can take place.
The placement of these panels is very important and it is recommended that they are on the top or sides of your ductwork. If this is not possible, then they can be located underneath, however they must be properly fitted and regularly checked for leaks.

Regular Inspections

Inspection of the ductwork must be done regularly. This is to check if cleaning is needed, as well as to monitor the accumulation of dirt and grease.
A variety of other tests can also be conducted and in order to comply with TR19® Specification, it is a requirement that you undertake and collect data from your WFTT (Wet Film Thickness Test) to test for grease and other deposits.

Cleaning Process

TR19® Grease specifies a cleaning process as follows:

  1. Hand wipe – manually wiping down the ductwork.
  2. Hand scrape – manually scraping the surface of the ductwork.
  3. Chemicals – using chemicals for softening of build-up to make scraping easier.
  4. High pressure clean – using high-pressure jets to remove harder debris.
  5. Blasting – blasting the contaminants of the surfaces to be vacuumed up.

Certain techniques of cleaning with water or steam are not suitable for all ductwork systems unless specifically designed for such.

Post-Cleaning Verification

Once your kitchen extraction cleaning has been done, verification of adequate cleaning is primarily a visual assessment; the surface should be visibly clean. Further verification must be done with the WFTT tests as mentioned above. Once performed, a post verification report will be issued.

What Not to Do

When installing your kitchen’s ventilation system, there are a few things you should do to make sure things are done properly.

  • Stay away from systems that create discomfort in the kitchen, such as noisy systems or those with a draft.
  • Match your ventilation to your kitchen space, what you cook and how much of it
  • Get your system bespoke designed – ventilation for smaller versus larger kitchens vary – it is not a one size fits all solution.
  • Freestanding fans in the kitchen are strongly advised against. They risk a faster spread of airborne particles and can work against extraction systems.

Keep a Clean Kitchen

It is safe to say, keeping your kitchen and extractor systems clean can be a step towards avoiding many headaches.
By simply following TR19® Grease cleaning and maintenance you can keep in line with food hygiene regulations. This will prevent fire and environmental hazards, and help keep staff and customers happy.
If you would like further information on kitchen extraction cleaning contact us to chat with one of our friendly professionals.