extraction system in the kitchen

Why You Need An Extraction System In The Kitchen

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The use of kitchen extraction systems or extraction hoods is concerned about the health and safety of staff in the kitchen as well as the prevention of fire hazards.

We at Hygiene Food Safety have come across a significant number of commercial kitchens that are NOT provided with any extraction system and often too small for the size of the operations. 

Lets take a look at why you need an extraction system in the kitchen

An extraction system in the kitchen is required by all commercial kitchens. An extraction canopy consists of an engineered system of exhaust hoods, make-up air ventilators, grease removal apparatuses, ducting, fans etc.  

Cooking in the kitchen produces heat, grease and smoke. As well as the potential for toxic gases produced from the cooking equipment. 

Anyone that has worked in a kitchen should be aware of the risk of fires and especially grease fires. 

These systems are also required for insurance purposes. The insurance companies have a tough view on the issue. In the UK insurers have recored losses with fire related damages to £107  in 2004.

The insurer’s loss prevention council suggest that a minimum of annual cleaning of entire systems by specialists is carried out, the exact frequency to be determined by reasoned risk assessment.

Failure to comply with the terms of a policy may mean invalidation of your policy.

The extraction system for the kitchen is a complicated matter, requiring proper design, air pressures and compliance with several regulations. Importantly health & safety, work place and fire/gas regulations. 

What do you need from the extraction system in the kitchen?

Essentially an extraction system in the kitchen needs 3 things:

  1. To extract air/grease/smoke/gas from the kitchen 
  2. Replace the air in the kitchen with clean air
  3. Help manage the temperature of the kitchen 

Designing of the extraction system seems to be a major failure in kitchens.

  1. These units are often not cleaned & deep cleaned often enough.
  2. Do not fit the kitchen size and amount of equipment
  3. Are not correctly maintained and repaired.

Managing the heat of the kitchen is also a food safety risk. The warmer the ambient temperature in the kitchen the faster food poisoning bacteria are able to grow. This means that even during preparation, the time taken to prepare and cook foods will have a factor in bacterial growth. We know that cooling the temperature down, slows the growth of bacteria.

Therefore using an extraction system in conjunction with air conditioning is essential. Check out our article on how bacteria grow for more.

Why is cleaning the extraction system in the kitchen so important?

Cooking requirementRecommended Deep cleaning scheduleRecommended Cleaning schedule
Heavy cooking3-6 Monthly2 per week
Medium cooking6-12 Monthly1 per week
Light cooking12 Monthly1 per month

In the kitchen extraction system and ducting you have a build up of oil and grease from the canopy all the way through the duct. Then you have the air from the fan. Finally, you have flames from the cookers down in the kitchen. These are considered the “Holy Trinity” of fires. 

Because, you can’t stop cooking and you have to have air extraction, the only thing you can do to help prevent a fire is to clean the Kitchen Extraction System on a regular basis to prevent build up. This involves Canopy Cleaning, Filter Cleaning, Fan Cleaning and Duct Cleaning throughout the building.

Failure to carry out regular Kitchen Extraction System Cleaning presents a significant risk to your business. This means that you may have to close your business for a few weeks for repair. Which may be uninsured, which means you could lose your business. 

Apart from the fire risk, a dirty Kitchen Extraction System poses a significant health risk as well through expose to gases and toxins. 

Finally, your kitchen extract system will be included as part of any general Health and Safety inspections, which can result in closure or other enforcements.

Deep cleaning of the extraction system must be done by registered persons in order to ensure the correct job is done, but also due to the fact that insurance companies require this.

Below are examples of requirements set out by ISO Standards: 

Kitchen Extract Cleaning

In accordance with ISO 1850: 2012 Clause 12.3.1:

  • 12.3.1 Canopy, grease removal devices, fans, ducts, and other appurtenances shall be cleaned to bare metal at minimum intervals of six months.

Kitchen Extract Certification

Upon completion of the cleaning of the Kitchen Extraction System and in accordance with ISO 1850:2012

Clause 12.3.3:

  • 12.3.3 After cleaning has been completed, the cleaning contractor shall:
  • place or display, within the kitchen area, a certificate that indicates the date on which the cleaning was done and the name of the servicing company. It shall also indicate areas that were not cleaned.

So, it makes financial sense, safety and food safety sense to install, clean and correctly maintain these facilities. Get into contact with you local registered cleaners and installers for your own safety and benefit. 

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