Cleaning and Sanitizing are two important processes for the food and beverage industry to ensure food safety and public health. However, they are not one and the same. A simple mistake that can occur is assuming a visibly "clean" surface is also sanitary. The consequence of this is bacteria, such as Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli), resist the cleaning step, continue to grow, and contaminate critical areas.
Cleaning is just the first step in ensuring the surface is ready to be sanitized. You can't sanitize a dirty surface so removing dirt, soil, and debris at a visible level is the first stage in the sanitation process. We don't stop there though... In this step-by-step guide, we'll review each stage of the process and how each step supports the next to ensure a safe, clean, and sanitary environment.
1. Soil Pick-up
Physically remove soils, including; dirt, mineral salts, residues, proteins, lubricants,
gross solids, and other residues off of contact surfaces. Disassemble machinery in
preparation for cleaning and covering sensitive electronics and switches.
One of the most important steps, rinse equipment surfaces, starting from the top, and rinsing to the floor until they appear free of all visible soil. Use warm - less than 120° F (48.9° C) - potable water. Any soils left on the equipment can prevent detergents from successfully penetrating that area.
TIP: Anything warmer than 120° F (48.9° C) could cause soil and particles to stick to the surface and block removal. An exception to this step is if the area or equipment being cleaned is for dry food products. Moisture can lead to bacterial growth and mold. Research proper protocol before cleaning.
3. Wet Pick-Up
Shovel, Squeegee, and/or broom (nylon bristled) floor solids to a central area and place in a proper container. Avoid soils from going down drains. This will prevent back-ups and reduce maintenance costs.
4. Apply Detergent
Apply the foam bottom to top to prevent streaking, covering all surfaces completely 1 1/2 - 2 inches thick. If thicker, the foam becomes heavy and can fall off the equipment prematurely. Scrub the foam into heavily soiled areas.
Rinse foam off equipment surfaces from top to bottom. On clean surfaces, rinse water will fall off the equipment. Soiled spots will appear waxy and rinse water will run around them. These areas will require hand scrubbing, extra rinsing, and possible detergent strengthening.
As mentioned previously, a rinse is not suggested in dry food areas.
6. Inspect & Clean
Inspect equipment, confirming all contact surfaces (especially food contact) are free of any
soiling. An inspection by the person who cleaned this area will reduce the chances of problems. Have hand-scrubbing detergents and a scrubbing pad with you as you go to resolve any remaining soil issues as you go.
7. Sanitize / Disinfect
To help safely reduce bacterial load, utilize the correct disinfecting or sanitizer solution as approved for F&B processing/handling environments. This step is insurance after steps 1 - 6 have been completed. Food processing equipment should show negative bacterial swab results before sanitizing and after.
Interest in how Clean Logix can help your sanitation procedures? Check out our line of SLX Sanitation Equipment.
Please note: This is a list of basic procedures and is not specific to your facility. Ensure you research and follow all guidelines prior to solidifying your sanitation plan.