Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 4: Nutrition and Food Service

4.9 Food Safety

4.9.0 Cleaning Food Areas and Equipment

Areas and equipment used for storage, preparation, and service of food should be kept clean. All of the food preparation, food service, and dining areas should be cleaned and sanitized before and after use. Food preparation equipment should be cleaned and sanitized after each use and stored in a clean and sanitary manner, and protected from contamination.

Sponges should not be used for cleaning and sanitizing. Disposable paper towels should be used. If washable cloths are used, they should be used once, then stored in a covered container and thoroughly washed daily. Microfiber cloths are preferable to cotton or paper towels for cleaning tasks because of microfiber’s numerous advantages, including its long-lasting durability, ability to remove microbes, ergonomic benefits, superior cleaning capability and reduction in the amount of chemical needed.

Outbreaks of foodborne illness have occurred in child care settings. Many of these infectious diseases can be prevented through appropriate hygiene and sanitation methods. Keeping hands clean reduces soiling of kitchen equipment and supplies. Education of child care staff regarding routine cleaning procedures can reduce the occurrence of illness in the group of children with whom they work (1).

Sponges harbor bacteria and are difficult to clean and sanitize between cleaning surface areas.

“Clean” means removing all visible soil. Routine cleaning of kitchen areas should comply with the cleaning schedule provided in Appendix K or local health authority regulations.

“Sanitize” means using a product to reduce germs on inanimate surfaces to levels considered safe by public health codes or regulations.

Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
Appendix K: Routine Schedule for Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting
  1. Cowell, C., S. Schlosser. 1998. Food safety in infant and preschool day care. Top Clin Nutr 14:9-15.