A growing body of research has found that indoor mold problems are more prevalent than previously believed. At the same time, there is a growing mountain of medical research pointed to how even seemingly benign mold strains can cause respiratory irritation, inflammation problems, and other health complications.
It is currently estimated that between 25 to 30% of all buildings have some type of mold problem. In some of these cases, the mold problem is obvious and shows overt signs. Though there are a fair number of instances where the presence of mold was unknown or the signs seemed insignificant yet turned out to be far more severe than the owner or occupants realized.
When it comes to mold in restaurants, commercial kitchens, and other segments of the foodservice industry the mold threat is even higher. At the same time, the consequences of these mold problems tend to be more severe.
The occurrence of mold in professional foodservice locations is often linked to things like moisture-producing fridges, freezers, and sinks. Not to mention the increased water use and the potential for plumbing problems in dishwashing stations and other cleaning facilities in the foodservice industry.
Of course, health and safety departments as well as food inspectors keep a keen eye out for signs of mold. Even something as seemingly simple as traces of mold on the inside lid of your ice dispenser can lead to a short-term shut down of your restaurant. While cleaning up the problem might only take a few minutes or hours, the impact on your reputation throughout the community your restaurant serves can be long-lasting.
The good news is, that if the mold you find in your professional kitchen is small then it’s likely easy to scrub and sanitize. Most professional chefs, kitchen managers, and even restaurant night custodians can deal with small mole problems, by keeping a keen eye out for them and spot cleaning them as soon as possible.
It’s when you have a recurring mold problem in your professional kitchen or you find a severe mold infestation in a lesser-used place like your long-term storage room that you can be in for a potential crisis. So, the important thing is to catch it early and deal with it effectively.
Tip #1: Regularly Inspect High-Moisture Areas
Mold spores need warmth and moisture to germinate into active colonies. Since mold spores live naturally floating through the air, you cannot stop them. All you can do is catch them in the very earliest stages before they can establish a foothold. This means keeping a close eye on some of their prime breeding grounds.
In a professional kitchen, this is often under the sinks, behind refrigerators and freezers. Though even frequently wet baseboard nears the floor, and areas near the ceiling can also become mold-infested by the presence of moisture and persistent ambient humidity.
Most of the time the mold found underneath a commercial kitchen sink is related to some type of unaddressed plumbing leak. When it occurs behind the fridge or freezer, the mold is often a by-product of an issue with the cooling systems.
Things like floors, mats, and baseboards in a commercial kitchen can be constantly bombarded with mold-sustaining spills. Not to mention frequent mopping then not giving the floor and baseboards enough time to dry.
When it comes to the ceiling you might find both inside and outside moisture present. Even something like a minor ceiling leak or condensation from a fire sprinkler system water line can cause persistent wetness on the backside of a drop tile ceiling. This moisture can prove to be a prime breeding ground for mold spores. Especially with the heat of the kitchen rising up. At first, you might only notice a tiny water spot on the facia of a few tiles, only to find out later a severe mold colony has been growing for a shockingly long period of time.
Tip #2 Check All Relevant Machinery And Food Prep Equipment
Appliances, walk-in coolers, reach-in coolers, ice machines, steamer trays, and commercial dishwashers all need to be frequently checked for signs of mold as well as the kind of maintenance problems that often lead to the moisture that promotes mold problems. Anyone who has worked in the food and beverage industry long enough has likely heard more and a few horror stories of drink machines that haven’t been cleaned in so long that their hoses are caked with sediment and mold.
Of course, this same sort of thing can occur with mold in appliances and devices like ice machines, dishwashers, and anything else that involves water, moisture, or steam. Chances are if it involves water, you need to check it as part of your routine kitchen inspection tour!
Tip #3: Call In The Professionals To Deal With A Severe Mold Problem
While you might be able to deal with a minor mold problem from a wet baseboard or a leaky plumbing fixture on your own, chances are you will need professional intervention to deal with a severe mold problem.
The overarching concern when you try to have your untrained kitchen staff clean up a serious mold colony is that they are just as likely to disturb it as they are to eliminate it. You might visually clean up the mold, but the disturbed colony simply emits more mold spores that end up colonizing somewhere else in your establishment. This is compounded by the fact that most of the cleaning products and equipment available at the retail level simply aren’t potent enough to completely eliminate the presence of an active mold colony.
When you contract a professional cleaning company like Building Services, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing highly trained professionals are bringing state-of-the-art cleaning products and equipment to eliminate the presence of mold in your professional kitchen. Then afterward, we can provide you with the necessary documentation to demonstrate that the mold problem has been thoroughly eliminated by professionals. This can be especially handy if your restaurant has drawn the attention of the food inspector!
Our experienced professionals can also help you understand how the mold problem started, as well as tips for implementing an effective mold prevention strategy.
The presence of toxic black mold in your restaurant, dining room, or any other food service area can lead to a quick shut down from a food inspector. This strain of mold, known technically as Stachybotrys chartarum, develops sickening slime heads while releasing harmful mycotoxins and a plethora of mold spores that can make employees and diners very sick.