A sanitation plan is crucial in any food preparation area to uphold the safety and quality of food plants. Bacteria can grow on unsanitary surfaces and contaminate any food on those surfaces. In that case, a clean work environment is essential to prevent the transmission of foodborne illness.
Proper sanitation procedures ensure that all facilities and equipment are cleaned on a regular basis to reduce the spread of bacteria or other pathogens. With regular practice, potential food safety hazards can be eliminated at each stage of the production cycle. The core of any sanitation plan is knowing the suitable protocols for each plant. The time and materials required to sanitize a food plant depend on many factors, including the method of cleaning, the soiling, and the equipment used. Read on for a guide to upholding good sanitation practices in food facilities.
Know Which Materials You’re Working With
When handling food, production facilities will be exposed to different types of soiling or dirt that risk contaminating the surfaces. Soiling refers to the waste products that commonly remain on equipment or surfaces as a result of food processing. Knowing what kind of dirt you are facing is essential, since various types of soiling may require different chemicals or methods of sanitation. Organic soils – such as animal flesh, fur, blood, and cuttings – are found most commonly in food plants and serve as a food source for bacteria.
Organics in turn can be broken down into bulk debris, fats, and protein-type materials. The type of food produced in a plant should be the deciding factor on how to sanitize the plant. When working in food quality assurance, employees should understand the proper sanitation techniques for different materials:
- Bulk debris is best removed manually
- Fats are best removed with caustics
- Protein materials should be removed using caustics fortified with chlorine
The Elements of Good Sanitation
Just because a work surface looks clean does not mean that it is sanitary. Sanitation procedures go well beyond basic cleaning methods and are an essential practice in preventing the spread of foodborne illnesses. The basic elements of good sanitation practices are:
- Assessment of environmental conditions to develop suitable procedures
- Commitment to continuous improvement of sanitation practices
- Proper application of daily sanitation procedures
- Use of periodic sanitation for the whole facility
- Verification of effective sanitation
The key to upholding good sanitation practices is to provide training to a large portion of personnel in the food plant. Students in food safety training will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to evaluate and inspect the sanitary status of food plants. The course covers requirements for sanitation programs and modern sanitation practices in food processing facilities. With an industry understanding of sanitation protocols, graduates are ready for career development in the food and beverage industry.
What Else Can Be Done for Food Quality Assurance?
Documenting your sanitation procedures is equally important. An effective sanitation plan should include a list of cleaning supplies or agents, instructions for their safe use, and a strict cleaning schedule. The schedule should outline how each surface or item needs to be sanitized, who is responsible, and how frequently sanitation should happen. Not to mention, clear documentation paves the way for a more consistent training system that helps all personnel stay up to date on the proper sanitation procedures. Training is essential and should be carried out consistently to inform facilities on industry practices and ensure they are following the right protocols.
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