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The Importance of Cleanliness in Food Manufacture and Production

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Cleanliness and hygiene in food production is a high stakes consideration. It’s not just about business risk, there are also legal obligations and the very real possibility of harming people through your actions, that’s why it’s important to never leave anything to chance in your food production area.

HACCP: The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point System

The Australian and New Zealand Food Standards programs integrate a point system that is internationally known as HACCP, or the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point System.

Widely accepted around the world as the most effective system for managing and reducing the risk of safety hazards in the production, manufacture, storage and preparation of food products, The Seven Principles of HACCP can assist in the following:

  • Hazard Analysis: Identifying potential hazards in the production of food.
  • Critical Control Points: Outlining the steps essential for management of hazard control.
  • Critical Limits: Identifying minimum and maximum limits for control points.
  • Procedures: Design and implementation of procedures.
  • Critical Control Monitoring: Control monitoring of implementation.
  • Corrective Action: Specific action to correct hazards if they arrive as well as analysis of implementation efficacy.
  • Record Keeping: Review and record keeping of procedures.

Clean equipment

Clean equipment is essential in the production, preparation and manufacture of food. Negligence can lead to cross contamination, bacteria build and up and shorter lifecycles for machinery and tools. Follow these steps to ensure your equipment remains clean, hygienic and up to standard:

  • Ensure all equipment for the production, storage and transport of food is easy to clean.
  • Ensure the cleaning and disinfecting procedure does not damage the equipment in any way.
  • Ensure cleaning agents are rinsed away as part of the procedure, and that they do not leave potentially toxic residue.
  • Develop regular maintenance and calibration schedules for all equipment.

Personal hygiene for staff and visitors

Regardless of whether a person is working on the factory floor, transporting food, or visiting the production area for some other reason, all should follow strict hygiene guidelines to ensure the safe handling of food. These include:

  • Thorough washing of hands.
  • Transparent communication of any illnesses that could affect food quality.
  • Appropriate attire at all times.
  • Full training and appropriate use of machinery.
  • Minimal contact with ready to eat food.
  •  No coughing, sneezing, spitting or eating of food around the production areas.

Operational cleaning, maintenance and hygiene

Effective cleaning and sanitisation relies on good workplace procedures in the following areas:

  • Effective and correct cleaning and sanitisation applications.
  • Prevention of dust, metals, glass, chemicals and other foreign objects from entering the food production areas.
  • High standard water quality.
  • Temperature control across the product lifecycle, from production to storage and transport.
  • Consistent disinfectant of areas that have come in contact with raw foods, particularly meats.

Maintaining high level operational hygiene is key to any food production area.

What are the impacts of poorly cleaned equipment and food production areas?

Poorly cleaned work areas greatly increase risks to both the business, staff members and customers of a food production businesses, as these two case studies highlight:

1. Brewing beer

One of Australia’s most popular alcoholic beverages, beer production relies on yeast for the fermentation process. However, microorganisms have the potential to cause microbial spoilage in the production process. Some of the microorganisms that you might find in spoiled beer include:

  • lactic acid bacteria
  • Acetic acid bacteria
  • Zymomonas species
  • Pectinatus species
  • Moulds
  • Wild yeast
  • Enterobacteriaceae

Bacteria can disrupt the fermentation process, causing expensive spoilage and the creation of unwanted byproducts. Even more concerning, these microorganisms can survive the production process and be contained in the finished product, risking the health of consumers.

2. Meat and poultry

Raw meat and poultry products that are mishandled or used in unclean environments are at significant risk from pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Yersinia, all of which can cause problems, including:

  • Illness to the consumer.
  • Product spoilage.
  • Putrefaction of the meat.

Most meat is stored raw, to be cooked later after delivery. Clean working environments are essential, and food production areas that use raw meat should be cleaned and disinfected at every change to prevent cross contamination.

Wet cleaning and sanitisation

Food Safety Magazine outlines 5 key steps for cleaning and sanitising factory areas and food preparation machinery:

  • Clean each surface with the appropriate cleaner and method. While you can use an all purpose cleaner for a lot of stuff around the home, on the factory floor it should be fit for purpose.
  • When sweeping a wet floor, use a squeegee or squeegee mop as they are easier to clean then brooms and brushes.
  • Use the correct temperature water to flush and sweep soil.
  • Apply sanitiser only after a thorough cleaning.
  • Rise sanitiser from surface or floor using only clean water, unless using non rinse sanitiser.

Food manufacture and production areas

There are many factors you should know about when cleaning food manufacturing and production areas.

  • What is the type of waste / soil being removed?
  • Do you understand how water affects both the waste and chemicals used in cleaning?
  • Do you understand the effects of cleaning agents, waste and water on the surfaces being cleaned?
  • Do you know who will be doing the work and how often?

If you’re unsure about any of these principals, talk to a professional factory cleaner about how these principals benefit your food safety and cleanliness.

Final considerations: ensure you have the right equipment

If you run a food manufacturing factory, it’s imperative that your premises is professionally cleaned, daily, with the highest quality equipment. Make Alphaclean your first point of call for your professional cleaning equipment needs.

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