disposable kitchen grease filtersA dirty exhaust system Is dangerous.

A number of recent fires in food premises in the City of Port Phillip are known to have started in the mechanical exhaust system. Grease, dust and oil from cooking activities can build up in the system if it is not regularly maintained; creating odour problems as well as a fire risk. A fire can destroy a food business, and some insurance policies will require proof that the exhaust system has been cleaned before honouring a claim.

The exhaust system in a commercial kitchen usually consists of an exhaust hood (canopy) with filters placed over the cooking appliances. Ductwork connects the canopy to an exhaust fan which is usually located outside the building.

All parts of the system – not just the filters – require cleaning and maintenance. The ACT Government’s paper Odour
management in retail food businesses advises “an important aspect of any mechanical ventilation exhaust system is regular and routine cleaning. All cleaning should be carried out in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, preferably by specialist trades people”.

City of Port Phillip recommends the following to all food businesses:
• seek professional advice on how often all parts of your system need to be cleaned – including the ductwork, canopy and filters
• ensure you keep a record of all cleaning and maintenance.