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Kitchen Tips to Managing Fat, Oil, and Grease

One of the biggest challenges in a commercial kitchen is managing residual fats, oils, and grease (FOG).

Residual fats oil and greases are a byproducts that food outlets have to manage constantly. Typically, fats, oils, and grease gets into the establishment’s plumbing system through various sources. It can get in through janitorial cleaning, equipment sanitation, and ware washing. Most sanitary sewers are not designed or equipped to handle the accumulation of FOG landing in municipal sewer system pipes. The majority of the reported sanitary blockage is as a result of fats, oils, and grease accumulation in the pipes over time coming from residential, commercial and institutional sources.

How are Fats, Oils, and Grease a problem?

FOG can have a negative effect on the treatment and wastewater collection systems. Most of the blockages of the wastewater collection system are usually traced to FOG effect. The blockages relating to the wastewater collection systems are serious because they cause sewage spills and manhole overflow. It can lead to sewage backups in your business or home or result to high maintenance costs.

Commercial food outlets that discharge animal and vegetable based type of FOG that has high polar concentration into water collection system. Continuous pouring of this kind of waste leads to accumulation of FOG, and will eventually block wastewater to the sewer.

What can you do about FOG?

The grease problem can be solved and prevented by keeping it out of your sewer system. This can be achieved through adopting certain habits that could assure minimization of FOG sources in your commercial food outlet.

In a commercial kitchen, fats, oils, and grease (FOG) usually come from the pre-washing of dishes or when washing pans and pots in sink units. Therefore, if cooking FOG is allowed to go down the wastewater system, it cools down and sticks to the system pipes, which creates a FOG build up or what the press have dubbed Fat Bergs.

There are practices that could ensure that your waste water system is free from fats; here are some of the things you can do which include:

  • Avoid pouring cooled fats, oils and grease into the wastewater collection system after washing but put in a container and be disposed of by registered waste collection.
  • Wiping dishes with a paper napkin or paper towel to remove fats before washing.
  • You can also use sink strainers to catch food waste that you can remove manually and put it the refuse.

Most local authority requires that the commercial kitchens have grease traps or install interceptors but this depends on foods produced, quantities expected and location of establishment to seweage systems.

What is grease trap and interceptors?

Grease traps and interceptors help to keep FOG from entering and building up in both your waste water system and the public sewerage. These grease interceptors and traps can be installed inside or outside a residential or commercial kitchen based on its application. These devices are designed to retain the FOG filled discharge for longer to allow grease to cool, solidify and become separated from the remaining other types of waste. This allows collection and proper disposal of solidified FOG.

Even if your establishment is a small coffee shop and it serves dairy products, it would be prudent to install the grease traps and interceptors to keep FOG from the wastewater collection system. The local authority will also require the establishment to install these devices if there is visual evidence of accumulation of fat, oil, and grease in the side sewer of the establishment. However, this decision is based on the use agreement signed between you, engineers and the local authority. If there is a high likely chance that you will be discharging FOG, you will take the responsibility to get a professional installation of the devices. This will not only help the local authority but will also keep your establishment free from frequent clogging that would make it unhygienic to prepare and serve food.

Are grease traps and interceptors cleaned?

Since grease traps and interceptors only separate grease from other waste, it is important to ensure that it is also cleaned to maintain its efficiency. These devices should meet the 25% rule of accumulation of food and FOG. If it exceeds these values, it will not be able to discharge FOG effectively and would lead to building up of fat oil and grease in the sewer line in your building.

You should create a specific cleaning schedule suitable for your business dependant on the nature of the establishment.

Adittional Tips

When choosing any method for managing your fats, oil, and grease (FOG), make sure that it is environmentally friendly and allowed by the local authority. If you are using grease traps or interceptors, choose the size that is suitable for your establishment. Ensure that it is installed and located in the area that would allow settling accumulation of FOG.

Technology does not provide the miracle cure to the problems it is directed to hence there is need to consider adopting habits that would ensure that FOG is properly managed in your establishment. In combination with using technology, other methods such as dry cleanup through scraping, wiping and sweeping should be used. The establishment can also ensure that there is no spilling to reduce the amount of waste in the food serving and preparation areas. Maintenance is the most important aspect of ensuring that there is no FOG blockage in your establishment.

Training and creating awareness to all the employees in the establishment is important to learn the correct cleaning procedures, especially when using under sink interceptors, which can be prone to regular breakdown without the right maintenance schedule.