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Stand-Up Training: How to Use Commercial Kitchen Equipment

Food worker learns to clean and sanitize the self-serve drink station.

Empower Employees Through Food Safety Training

Equipment can contaminate food if it’s not kept clean, sanitized, and in good repair. Teach your employees how to use equipment correctly and keep it in good condition to prevent foodborne illness.

Learning Objectives

You may choose to read these learning objectives with your employees as a part of the stand-up training.

After this training, employees will be able to:

  • Identify the proper equipment to use in each stage of food preparation
  • Explain why holding equipment must not be used in food preparation
  • Clean and sanitize large equipment in the establishment
  • Recognize when equipment is malfunctioning
  • Communicate problems to a manager and other employees

The Facts

You may choose to read these facts with your employees as a part of the stand-up training.

  • Use an approved thawing method to thaw frozen food.
  • Only use a stove, microwave, oven, or other piece of cooking equipment to reheat and cook food.
  • Holding equipment cannot be used to reheat or cook food because it won’t heat food quickly enough to prevent rapid bacteria growth.
  • Only use dedicated holding equipment to hold hot and cold food. It’s designed to keep the temperature steady, which prevents bacterial growth.
  • The FDA Food Code recommends cleaning and sanitizing every piece of equipment at least once every 24 hours.
  • Cleaning is the act of using soap and water to get debris off equipment. Sanitizing involves using a chemical or very hot water to kill bacteria on the equipment.
  • Large or bulky equipment should be cleaned in place. Small equipment can be cleaned in a three-compartment sink or in the dishwasher.
  • When equipment malfunctions, pieces of it can break off and fall into food, creating dangerous physical hazards.
  • If you notice a problem with any piece of equipment, tell your manager immediately and make sure other employees know not to use it.

Training Activities

Choose the activities that will be most beneficial for your employees. Modify them as needed to fit the training needs of your establishment.

Equipment Identification Challenge

Challenge: Explain that you’re going to give some examples of tasks your employees perform every day. When you give the example, ask them to point to the equipment they would use to carry out the task, or shout out its name. After each example, discuss the possible answers and why employees should use them to carry out the task. Answer any questions your staff may have.

  • Thawing frozen food (possible answers: fridge, food preparation sink, microwave, other piece of cooking equipment)
  • Reheating food (possible answers: stove, microwave, oven)
  • Cooking food (possible answers: any piece of cooking equipment)

Display (optional): Post the Reheating Food Process poster in your establishment to remind employees what equipment they can use to reheat food safely.

Cleaning and Sanitizing Equipment

Discuss: What’s the difference between cleaning and sanitizing?

Demonstrate: Ask for a volunteer to describe how to clean and sanitize equipment while you follow their instructions. Or explain the process yourself while the volunteer follows your instructions. Demonstrate the proper way to clean and sanitize a small piece of equipment, like a knife or cutting board, as well as a large piece of equipment, like a grill.

Display (optional): Put the Cleaning in Place Process poster up to help your employees remember the steps for cleaning large equipment in place.

Following Up

When a health inspector comes to your facility, their goal is to watch for anything that might present a danger to public health. Part of what they’ll look for is if your employees are using the correct equipment to perform their tasks, if the equipment is in good repair, and if it’s cleaned and sanitized regularly.

Help your employees prepare for your next health inspection by asking them to practice describing the correct processes to thaw, cook, reheat, and hold food. As you see them work, praise employees who do things correctly and make corrections when necessary. Remind them to notify you if they notice any problems with equipment.

As needed, review this training with your employees.

Training Resources

Use the Reheating Food Process Poster to help your employees remember how to reheat food safely.

The Cleaning in Place Process Poster will be a valuable reference for employees who are tasked with cleaning large equipment in place.

Did you use this stand-up training in your establishment? We’d love to get your feedback! Take a minute to do our feedback survey.

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— Jessica Pettit

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