Markus Westphal, Risk Assessor at UK P&I Club, discusses the importance of maintaining high standards of cleanliness and hygiene onboard ship and provides some important tips:
“In this time of heightened awareness, maintaining the highest levels of hygiene and health standards onboard is critical. An extremely important element of this is adhering to best practice guidelines in the galley.
“Excellent standards of food preparation and cooking within the galley include:
Cleanliness – it’s important for galley crew to wash their hands before handling all types of food and have blue catering plasters available in case of minor cuts.
Galley equipment – the range and extractor hood should be cleaned daily, while deep fat fryers need to be treated with respect.
Training – catering staff need to be properly trained in food safety and personal hygiene, as well as garbage management procedures.
Food preparation – in order to avoid coliform bacteria E. coli, which can cause diarrhoea and kidney damage, it’s necessary to eliminate cross-contamination of raw and cooked food by thoroughly cleaning the relevant equipment. Galley staff must wash their hands after handling raw meat, fish, poultry or vegetables. Separate colour-coded chopping boards should be used for these foods.
Food storage – Separate refrigerators should be used for cooked and raw food. Refrigeration chambers must be kept at recommended temperatures, which should be regularly checked and to ensure good air circulation. Door seals and catches should also be checked regularly.
Cooking – raw and previously cooked food needs to be cooked thoroughly above the danger threshold of 65 degrees.
Garbage – ensure food waste containers are covered, keep garbage segregated and all disposal should be logged.
“The Master should inspect the galley and stores for hygiene levels and general housekeeping, which should eliminate any hazards. While taking stores, galley crew need to use appropriate techniques when lifting heavy items or loads by bending their knees and keeping their backs straight.
“The galley is one of the most important areas onboard as it provides crew with their necessary daily food and beverages; the quantity and quality of food is important in order to maintain their performance and health. As they are subject to MLC inspections, the galley needs to be of such a high standard to avoid causing the vessel and crew of any danger.”