If you own or operate a restaurant, then you are likely well aware of the fact that food, health, and safety inspectors are going to visit you. They take their jobs very seriously and they can be shockingly thorough. Especially if they have received a complaint about you or one of your shift employees.
Of course, they look through all the usual things. They test the temperature of all the prep items, including the things that are stored in walk-ins and reach-in refrigerators. They will look for dust where dust shouldn’t be and even in places where you might not have ever thought dust could accumulate. They will check the dates on all your fire extinguishers, keep an eye out for smoke detectors with dead batteries, and maybe even run a finger around the lid of your ice maker.
Not to mention the righteous fury that will be served upon you if an employee does something like a return to work after using the restroom, without washing their hands!
Minor issues will often just be flagged. Most of the time they will give you a narrow window to address them in before they return to make sure that you have cleaned, repaired, addressed, or altered the problem to their satisfaction. Should they find a lot of minor issues or a major issue and they will shut the restaurant down. This might also come with a hefty fine to boot. Not to mention, restaurant closures have a knack for showing up in the newspaper.
One thing that is increasingly on the public radar and thus the radar of restaurant inspectors around the United States is the pervasive problem of mold.
Now mold is an unwelcome visitor just about anywhere you find it. It is especially troublesome for food service establishments, who want to stay open after an inspection. One of the biggest problems with it is that mold is typically very difficult to remove. At the same time, it is also considered to be very dangerous around food. This is especially true for a high-volume restaurant, where keeping food exclusively quarantined can be a real challenge.
If you have seen signs of mold in your restaurant or in an adjacent structure, or you merely suspect that there might be a mold issue based on the smell of a particular area, you shouldn’t immediately panic. Yet you also need to take immediate action to remediate the problem as quickly as possible.
In a situation like this time is indeed of the essence. You need to recruit the services mold control or mold remediation, expert. Armed with their special tools and experience, most mold problems can be managed and eliminated. Afterward, the mold remediation expert can also help you understand the things you can do to prevent the problem from happening again in the future.
What Are Some Of The More Common Causes Of Mold In A Restaurant?
Mold tends to like a lot of the microenvironments that you find in a lot of restaurants. The microscopic spores move easily through the air that passes from the outside world or from another established mold outbreak. When they land on something that is moist, in relatively low light, and warm, it gives them the chances to bloom. This process can go unchecked if the area is relatively undisturbed. In the time it can allow a minor mold invasion to grow into a major problem.
Unfortunately, restaurants tend to have a lot of damp and relatively untouched areas. Especially in places like under the sink, behind a refrigerator, or even above the ceiling tiles. In many of these areas, mold can accumulate for quite some time without attracting much attention or even going completely unnoticed.
As a restaurant manager, your efforts need to start by keeping the front of the house clean. The last thing you want is mold becoming apparent in your dining room or takeout area. At the same time, you also need to focus a great deal of attention on the kitchen, walk-in refrigerators, and storage areas. Make sure everything is compliant with health codes as it should be. You also need to check less used or seen places, in your storeroom. Sometimes something as simple as water on a cardboard box can host mold, which continues to release spores out into the rest of the restaurant via the ventilation system.
What Are Some Mold-Related Problems?
There are many different types of mold that can affect the places where people live, work, and eat. Some of the more serious types like black mold or toxic mold can make people very ill. Even if a less threatening type of mold infests your restaurant the airborne spores could cause respiratory and skin issues. Mold that develops on food that goes unnoticed and is accidentally consumed can make your patrons very ill.
How Do I Eliminate Mold From My Restaurant?
Mold is a tenacious problem once it gets a foothold in a restaurant. There are simply so many places where it can inhabit, that might be hard to detect, and even harder to eliminate. It’s not the sort of thing that you can just put on the kitchen crew’s nightly list of tasks and hope for the best.
At the same time, accidentally disturbing a pocket of mold by trying to remove it without proper equipment often makes the problem worse. This tends to trigger the mold to release thousands of spores which will then find a home somewhere else. Not to mention the smell in the area can be alarming to employees, guests, and diners.
If you do find an area of mold, it’s best left to a mold control expert. If an inspector finds an area of mold they might not be satisfied with you attempting to clean it yourself. Some inspectors will even require documentation from a qualified mold remediation expert before clearing the issue and allowing you to reopen your restaurant.
At the end of the day, mold should never be a key ingredient in your restaurant’s kitchen, and you certainly don’t need it impacting your reputation in the community.