Failure to Keep Drink Dispensers Clean
By Cindy Rice, RS Eastern Food Safety
What might be lurking in the nozzles of your beverage dispensers and drink urns, and why should this be a concern in food establishments?
Improper cleaning of drink nozzles can cause foul tasting beverages, for sure, but can also lead to health issues. Beverage sugars that coat the nozzles literally act as food for microbes to grow, which can then be dispensed right into your cup. In fact, one researcher from the University of Denver analyzed swabs of soda dispenser nozzles from five different food establishments, to see just how clean or dirty some soda fountains are. All of the drink nozzles tested positive for microorganisms, including Staphylococcus, E. coli, mold and yeast. So, there are definite concerns with failing to clean nozzles of soda dispensers, coffee and tea urns and bar dispensers. Unclean dispenser nozzles not only can affect the taste of your beverages, it can endanger your guests too.
REASONS WHY THIS CAN HAPPEN:
Beverage dispensers are often overlooked in favor of more obvious food safety risks such as refrigeration or cooking. One main reason for the oversight is a general lack of knowledge about the need to clean and sanitize these nozzles. Time constraints and lack of oversight can lead to unsanitary conditions, which is especially a risk in high volume, customer self-service areas. This not only applies to soda dispensers, but coffee, tea and milk urns and liquor pourers in the bar area too.
- Keep drinks tasting delicious and customers safe by cleaning nozzles and drink dispensers daily
- Follow manufacturers’ instructions for cleaning nozzles, soaking them in a mild detergent solution, rinsing, then dipping in sanitizer solution of proper concentration and air drying
- Include this cleaning task on a Master Cleaning Schedule, for drink nozzles, beverage urns and spouts/pourers
- Assign a person to monitor drink areas regularly and ensure their daily cleaning
- Cover pourers and spouts overnight, when appropriate, to prevent contamination from the outside
- Take advantage of your Pest control program to detect problems (e.g., fruit flies, bar flies, cockroaches) in bar areas, bottles, BIB containers. Step up your monitoring and cleaning efforts accordingly
Keeping your drink nozzles clean, with regular monitoring and staff training, can help keep your beverages refreshingly clean and healthy.