• Ask for documentation from the supplier confirming that an item is food grade. Keep this documentation in your records.
• Choose items that can be cleaned and sanitized (unless using a single-use item approved for contact with food).
• Reusing containers:
* Containers that previously held chemicals or other non-food items should never be used for food contact (including harvesting, storing and processing).
* Do not reuse materials that are intended for single-use.
They are not designed for repeated washing and sanitizing.
* For example: Cardboard clamshells or quart containers cannot be washed and sanitized and should not be reused unless lined with a new plastic bag approved for food contact.
• When deciding whether to reuse a container that previously held a food product, make sure it can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, if necessary.
Cleaning and Sanitizing Food Contact Surfaces:
Cleaning and sanitizing decreases the number of microbes that come in contact with food products.
For smaller items such as knives and containers, cleaning andsanitizing can be done in a three compartment sink. The first compartment contains detergent solution; the secondcompartment contains rinse water; and the third compartmentcontains sanitizing solution. Hot water, if available, will do a better job of removing soil and food particles. Sanitizing solutions are best when used at room temperature.
For larger, freestanding equipment or surfaces that come incontact with food, use a three-part (or bucket) system consisting of wash, rinse and sanitize.
• For example: If apples are placed directly on a tabletop during sorting, the tabletop needs to be cleaned, rinsed, and in some cases, sanitized.
Commonly used chemical sanitizers include chlorine, iodine, peroxyacetic (peracetic) acid and quaternary ammonium compounds, also knows as “quats”. Choose sanitizers labeled foryour intended use. Keep in mind that any sanitizer with an EPA registration number is a pesticide, and all relevant state pesticide regulations that apply to your operation need to be followed.
Water temperature, water hardness, and pH affect sanitizer concentration. Use test strips to measure sanitizer concentration. Test concentration after mixing and during use.
WHAT IS NSF International®?
NSF International ® is an independent, not-for-profit, accredited organization that develops standards, and tests and certifies products and systems
They audit the manufacturing process of a product and independently test the product for safety, quality and performance. Most products certified by NSF will bearthe certifier’s mark on the product to help consumers and buyers make educated purchasing decisions.
NSF certification is recognized at the local,state, federal and international levels and implies that a product meets all standard requirements.
The Cleaning and Sanitizing Process *
• Wet the area with potable water, rinse off any visible debris.
• Scrub surface with soap or detergent and water to physically remove soil.• Rinse surface with potable water.
• If applicable, apply sanitizer following manufacturer’s directions.
• Allow contact with surface for recommended time.
• Allow surface to air dry. Don’t use a cloth towel to dry. Cloth towels can recontaminate the surface.
Download our Fact Sheet: Farm Food Safety — Food Contact Surfaces and Materials
Created: February 2018
Updated: April 2019
About the Author
Jessica Sprague is a former Food Safety Field Specialist with UNH Cooperative Extension.
This fact sheet was reviewed and edited by Food Safety Area of Expertise and FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) team members.
For More Information
59 College Rd.
Durham, NH 03824
Education Center and Information Line
9 am–2 pm M–F
UNH Cooperative Extension brings information and education in to the communities of the Granite State to help make New Hampshire’s individuals, businesses, and communities more successful and its natural resources healthy and productive. For 100 years, our specialists have been tailoring contemporary, practical education to regional needs, helping create a well-informed citizenry while strengthening key economic sectors.
The University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer. University of New Hampshire, U.S. Department of Agriculture and N.H. counties cooperating.