Be Careful of What You Touch! Cross-Contamination at the Dish Machine

cross contaminationWhenever something needs to be cleaned and sanitized, there is the potential for these areas to become contaminated if you are not careful.  The same applies to the dish machine at any public dining facility.

Ideally, a dish area would have 2 employees working the machine, one to handle the soil side where all of the used wares are contaminated, and one on the clean side to handle the wares that have just come out of the machine.  However, with ever-shrinking budgets, most restaurants, and other public facilities that are serving food don’t have the luxury of having two employees to take care of the dish area, and it is typical to see only one machine operator handling both the clean side and the dirty side.  This can turn into a disaster if the proper handling procedures are not followed.

In my experience, I have seen a dish machine operator go from handling soiled wares right to the clean side of the machine to grab “clean” plates and glasses. I cringe every time. Every time the machine operator moves from the soil side to the clean side of the machine, they must wash their hands before touching any of the clean wares.  Not doing so will result in cross-contamination, and can result in illnesses to anyone who may use those wares.

The importance of the dish machine operator’s job cannot be overstated. It must be ingrained in that individual to have clean hands before handling any clean and sanitized wares that come out of the dish machine, or out of the 3-compartment sink.  If you, as the manager of any type of dining facility, don’t enforce this policy, the State Inspector or Health Department surely will, which can result in write-ups, heavy fines or even shutting down of the facility.

For so many reasons, primarily the safety of the people who are patronizing your dining facility, understanding, executing and helping to enforce a policy of clean and sanitary procedures, will help to minimize any cross-contamination in your facility.

John Jacobs is the Product Manager for Laundry, Warewashing & Foodservice at the Betco Corporation®   . When he’s not wearing his laundry and warewashing superhero cape, you will probably find him spending time with his twin daughters, or playing guitar with his band in the Detroit area. Click here to contact John directly.

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