The Grease Contractors Association (GCA) has published simple steps that food service establishments (FSEs) can take to ensure grease management systems can immediately operate effectively and safely after a period of closure.
As increasing numbers of premises reopen to offer a takeaway service, and with others planning ahead to move quickly once current lockdown restrictions are eased, taking these measures can help prevent setbacks caused by grease management equipment failures.
The UK government has provisionally set 4 July for the reopening of some restaurants and pubs, following closure in March in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The GCA is a non-profit organisation of specifiers, installers, maintainers and manufacturers of grease management systems, administered by trade association British Water. Its equipment preservation guidance has been sent to industry trade associations and is also available on the GCA website.
It highlights the importance of staff training before reopening and running water to fill your grease trap before starting operation again. This will fill the unit back up to the normal operating level, making sure any mechanical parts or heating elements are fully operational before switching back on. It will also highlight any odour issues or restrictions if the system drains slowly.
The GCA also advises grease management systems are serviced every three months – so a service by an approved contractor is likely to be due if premises have been closed since mid March.
Lila Thompson, chair of the GCA and chief executive of British Water, said: “We know many FSEs are forward-planning so they can start serving customers safely once lockdown restrictions for the industry are eased. Grease management systems are a vital part of any kitchen and after a prolonged period of closure are likely to need some attention before powering back up. Taking these steps will ensure a smooth recommissioning process.”
In addition to its grease management guidance notes, the GCA has a partnership with the Foodservice Equipment Association (FEA), which has produced a guide to recommissioning all kitchen equipment. It has also teamed up with Southern Water, to share advice to FSEs.
Southern Water network protection officer Steve Williams said: “Many premises had to close in a hurry and the length of closure means equipment, such as grease management systems, may not have been used in a while.
“It is really important this equipment can do its job of protecting sewers by dealing with kitchen fat, oil and grease safely – a sewer blockage would be disastrous for any business as this point. Our website has more advice for food businesses and we also advise contacting your manufacturer or installer prior to reopening.”