Keeping kitchen floors bacteria free
Commercial kitchens in Australia have strict food safety requirements to ensure floor finishes are clean, serviceable, slip resistant and most importantly free of harmful bacteria.
According to Chris Bauer, Head of Flooring at Hychem, when it comes to choosing a flooring solution for a commercial kitchen clients should look for options beyond tiles and conventional epoxy coatings.
“Going back maybe eight to ten years we would use a conventional epoxy. Now we use a product called Hycrete PU which is a polyurethane product,” Mr Bauer said.
“Compared to Hycrete PU, epoxy doesn’t have the same heat and chemical resistance as the Hycrete polyurethane.”
Stopping bacteria growth
Ensuring that the right flooring is installed in a commercial kitchen is important as a worn, delaminated and eroded flooring surface can create an unhygienic environment, failing to comply with Food Standards Australia’s OH/S Food Premises and Equipment 3.2.3 Standard.
“One alternative for a commercial kitchen would be a tiled floor but a tiled floor is not seamless,” Mr Bauer said.
“Wherever there are grout lines and joins between tiles you can get water penetration.
“Washing the floor will remove visible signs of waste but while it has been sitting on the floor, bacteria has been able to breed.
“The problem of an unsuitable or damaged floor is that bacteria is able to get into the cracks and under the flooring where it will be able to breed and spread.”
Mr Bauer said the benefit of using a resin floor is that it is seamless.
“Our products are all 100 per cent seamless so they’re completely impervious to liquids. Hycrete PU also contains an additional additive called UltraFresh™ which helps keep floors bacteria free.”
Hychem is the only company in Australia to build the antimicrobial Ultra-Fresh technology into their resin allowing it to be resistant to bacteria, fungi, mould and mildew.
High resistance to harsh conditions
Flooring in commercial kitchens is subject to harsh conditions.
“Kitchen flooring needs to be extra resistant and durable as not only is there heavy foot traffic wearing away at the floor of a kitchen but hot oils and sharp objects are dropped, harsh cleaning chemicals and high volumes of water are used, and animal fats washed away.
“All of these can lead to the corrosion of regular flooring and most conventional epoxy coatings.”
Mr Bauer said that one key benefit of Hycrete PU is it’s heat and fat resistance.
“In a commercial kitchen, under the oven, grill and deep fryer, there’s a lot of heat that can cause the product to crack,” Mr Bauer said.
“There can also be a lot of oil spitting onto the floor which can break down the floors surface.
“The Hycrete PU product has very good resistance, unlike traditional epoxy floors, and can withstand the heat and chemical attack from fat in a commercial kitchen environment.”
Making the grade
According to Australian standards, commercial kitchen floorings need to have a slip resistance rating of P5 or R12.
Hycrete PU complies with the new slip resistance standards that were revised in 2013. Slip resistance can be measured through the oil-wet inclining ramp test or the wet pendulum test.
Oil-wet inclining ramp testing classifies the slip resistance levels of a ramp. Surfaces are given an R rating with R9 representing the lowest level of resistance up to R13, which represents this highest level of slip resistance.
The wet pendulum test is used to classify the slip resistance levels of flat surfaces. Surfaces are given a P rating from the lowest level of resistance, P0, to the highest level of resistance, P5.
As the Australian slip resistance standards were recently revised it is important for businesses to be aware of the changes. The tests now use a modified method of slipper preparation which minimises the effects of rubber roughness on surfaces that are very smooth.
This has led to changes in the ratings. The rating system for the wet pendulum test have also been revised and no longer use the V, W, X, Y and Z classifications.
According to Mr Bauer, Hycrete is also food grade and complies with HACCP standards making it suitable for use in food and beverage processing areas, including kitchens.
Information about HACCAP standards can be viewed on the HACCP Australia website.