Part of Eastern philosophy from Japan is based on five words that have become commonplace in manufacturing facilities. The Japanese words that make up the 5S methodology are seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu and shitsuke, and all should be evident in any kitchen embracing the new food safety culture. Here’s how:
Sort: Kitchen spaces should only contain what is needed. Areas are often overloaded with items rarely if ever used. An example would be the broken cart missing a wheel or handle. Why are leftovers from special events saved only to be thrown away the following year?
Set: Mise en place — or everything should be in its proper place. This means organizing items in logical sequence or grouping and placing the most frequently used items nearest their doors. For example, frill tooth picks should be placed at table level in a containing minimizing picks from becoming lost in food.
Shine: This is the cleaning phase, and all areas should be clean at all times. Don't wait for slow periods to start cleaning. Remind any staff members who wipe things off the table and onto the floors that their “mothers don’t work here.” Disorganized and dirty work areas create waste by obscuring items that are needed and working areas become unsafe and slippery.
Standardize: Standardization is the covering, labeling and dating of produced product, so that FIFO (first in first out) stock rotation can be followed. Clips that can be attached to shelves indicate the space for the item and can also have par level information. I even require staff to initial their labels. This has reduced many mistakes and spoilage issues.
Sustain: The design created by the chef and their culinary support team work to keep systems in motion. Everyone needs to be trained on how and where to find stored items. Things that are found out of place must be returned to their designated home. The days of just putting things in where an opening exists has been proven to be costly in many cross-contamination scenarios.
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