Cleaning and sanitizing best management practices for food contact surfaces are essential steps in keeping food safe to eat. Implementing routine cleaning and sanitizing procedures will help maintain the safety of food, decrease food spoilage, and increase your business profits.
Cleaning is the physical removal of food debris, soil, dust, grease, and microbes from a surface through scrubbing with a detergent solution and rinsing off detergent and food prior to sanitizing.
Always use drinkable water during the cleaning process.
Sanitizing is the process of decreasing the number of micro- organisms to a safe level. Soil, grease, dust, or detergents will inactivate sanitizers, so it is important to clean and rinse a surface before you sanitize it.
Use sanitizers that are approved for use on food contact surfaces based on the label information. The manufacturer is a good resource when determining whether a specific sanitizer is safe for your operation.
Approved sanitizers for use with food contact surfaces include chlorine (unscented bleach), iodine, and quaternary ammonium or “quats”. These products are available in different forms and concentrations. Work with your supplier to determine which sanitizer would be best for your operation.
Use test strips to determine the concentration of your sanitizing solution. You can purchase them from your supply company. Be sure to follow the instructions for each type of test strip and use a test strip designed for a specific sanitizer.
Test the concentration of your sanitizing solution when it is initially mixed, and periodically during use, to ensure the concentration is still at an effective level. Sanitizing solutions can lose effectiveness over time due to exposure to air, organic materials, soap, or other factors that cause the chemical to dissipate.
Several simple recordkeeping strategies will ensure your cleaning and sanitizing procedures are being implemented as planned and as scheduled for your kitchen.
A cleaning and sanitizing schedule and completion log will help you make cleaning and sanitizing a regular part of your operation. In general, a plan will answer the following four questions.
What needs to be cleaned?
How should each piece of equipment or food contact surface be cleaned?
When should equipment be cleaned?
Who will do the cleaning and sanitizing and how will it be documented?