Food service professionals, such as caterers, who work at temporary, off-site events may encounter situations when the event venue does not have conveniently located sinks. This is most common at outdoor events like farmer’s markets, festivals, or weddings. Sinks are obviously necessary to comply with health department regulations, so food service business owners may need to purchase portable sanitation equipment.
Portable sanitation equipment requires an initial investment, as well as ongoing payments for supplies. It also requires cleaning and maintenance to remain working in top condition. With this in mind, people shopping for equipment want to make sure they make a smart purchase that will serve their needs now and into the future without breaking the bank. This article will provide you with some considerations to help you find the right portable sanitation equipment for your needs.
Types of Equipment
There are three primary categories of portable sanitation equipment: sinks, toilets, and hand sanitizers. Sinks are most relevant to the food service industry because workers are required by the health departments to keep their hands clean as they prepare and serve food to the public. Handwashing is one of the most effective methods of eliminating germs and keeping food free from contamination.
Certain businesses may choose to buy portable toilets if there are no facilities in the areas in which they work and the events are day-long or span several days, like fairs. Hand sanitizers provide an added level of sanitation, although they are not accepted by health departments as the lone method of hand hygiene. In many instances, hand sanitizers are provided as a convenience for customers.
Essential & Desirable Product Features
There are a variety of different portable sanitation options with features designed to serve many different needs. The primary feature for food service professionals to look for is heated water because the minimum handwashing water temperature required by the FDA Food Code is 100 degrees Fahrenheit. For maximum convenience, look for a portable sink that includes a cord that can plug directly into an outlet or extension cord.
It’s also strongly recommended that a feature of your portable sink is a foot pump or similar system that dispenses water without requiring the user to touch the sink with their hands. Hands-free operation helps prevent recontamination, whereas sinks that feature knobs or handles to dispense water can result in wasted handwashes due to the user picking up germs when they must use their hands to shut off the tap after washing their hands. Your sink should also have a deep bowl so that there’s room to wash both hands and forearms.
There are one-person, two-person, and multi-person varieties of portable sinks. Which one you add to your operation depends on how many users there will be. For small operations, a one-person or two-person sink may suffice. However, large operations with multiple employees may benefit from having either multiple sinks or a four-person unit.
The FDA specifies that handwashing sinks must be conveniently located near employees and in or immediately adjacent to toilets, if applicable. Because workspace may be limited, it’s helpful if the sink has a small footprint. This provides workers with easy access to handwashing without taking up valuable real estate.
Easy mobility is desirable for any piece of portable sanitation equipment. A small footprint is part of the equation. Additional features that make units easy to move include lightweight construction, rubber-treaded wheels, and built-in handle. With the right combination of features, sinks, hand sanitizers, and even toilet units can be moved by a single person.
Don’t forget to consider supplies when shopping for portable sanitation equipment. Soap, paper towels, toilet paper, and sanitizing foam or gel are necessary for the various pieces of equipment, and chlorine tabs are recommended to keep water fresh and odor-free. Units should be constructed so there’s easy access to the necessary supplies. It’s also a good idea when you’re shopping to verify that the seller of the equipment includes supplies or has them available for purchase. It’s inconvenient to purchase portable sanitation equipment from one source and have to search for an additional source for supplies.
You’ll probably come across very similar equipment being sold by multiple sources. To choose the best source, consider the unique selling propositions (USPs) that set a seller apart from the rest. The first one that probably comes to mind is price. Be diligent about shopping around to find a good deal.
Price shouldn’t be the only tipping point, though. Quality is also important, so look for equipment manufactured by reputable companies that have a track record of delivering superior, durable products. Some manufacturers may guarantee quality by offering warranties that cover product defects. You can get an idea of a manufacturer’s quality by searching for company reviews, product reviews, and testimonials.
Finally, the best portable sanitation equipment manufacturers/sellers keep their customers’ interests in mind by remaining knowledgeable about their industries. The best products often come from companies that keep up to date on local, state, and federal sanitation regulations. Those companies improve existing products and develop new ones to keep buyers in compliance.
SINKSNMORE wants to help you maintain the highest levels of sanitation. Visit FoodSinksTB.com to download our Free Health Department Compliance Solutions Bulletin and request a Free Handwashing Sign to remind employees to wash often.
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