For anyone completing a food safety program, understanding at full length the time, resources, and procedures needed for food plant sanitation is essential. Proper sanitation, which is different from cleaning, helps prevent foodborne illness and helps protect the public. This prerequisite for food safety is something that cannot be compromised by cutting corners. At AAPS, students in our food safety program complete a course dedicated to food plant sanitation.
A comprehensive understanding of what is involved in food plant sanitation sets our students up for success no matter which direction they decide to take their careers. This integral component of the food industry allows students to better understand related concepts such as food processing and product development. With a desire to make a difference in the world, our students dedicate their time and energy to becoming experts in food safety. Read on to learn more about food plant sanitation.
Elements to Consider for Assessing Cleaning and Sanitation
While there are different ways to clean and sanitize equipment, all approved processes consider a number of elements. These include:
- Time – the amount of time required to properly clean something
- Action – the energy required to properly clean a surface
- Concentration – the correct cleaning concentration needed
- Temperature – the temperature at which the cleaning products are used
- Water – the universal solvent
- Individual – who or what teams complete each cleaning task
- Nature – what byproducts the plant’s production will leave behind
- Surface – what the surface being cleaned is made out of
You can remember these using the acronym TACT WINS. By taking the time to investigate each of these variables after food safety training, you can determine if the processes in place are suitable for complete and proper sanitation.
Taking a Closer Look at Sanitation After Food Safety Training
Many students who have graduated from our food safety program have gone on to fill roles in Food Safety and Quality Assurance, Regulatory Affairs, Research and Development, and more. With these highly specialized roles, attention to detail is a top priority. Taking a closer look at the plant’s sanitation policies and practices can result in exposing any errors or possible dangers to proper sanitation.
Inspecting hard-to-reach places, equipment that is unable to be hand-cleaned, and manufacturer-provided cleaning protocols will help you ensure that the plant’s sanitation doesn’t slip through the cracks.
Our integrated approach will afford you the foundation and knowledge to develop, implement, and maintain food safety programs to carry out these essential tasks. Using tools such as GMPs and HACCP, you can ensure that products and processes comply with national and international safety and quality standards.
Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures
Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures, or SSOPs, are documents that provide detailed information on what a plant is doing on a routine basis to make sure that food contact surfaces and other areas are up to cleanliness and sanitation standards. They often include descriptions on:
- Employees and individuals responsible for each procedure
- Safety measures that protect both personnel and the consumers
- The safe handling of chemicals
- A list of equipment and areas that are regularly cleaned
- Key inspection points
- A schedule outlining when each sanitation task is performed
- How cleaning activities are continuously monitored and verified
- The tools and steps needed to reach proper sanitation
- Methods for cleaning and sanitizing each area/piece of equipment
SSOPs often function as the backbone of any food plant. Kept on file and reviewed periodically to reassess for any possible improvements, SSOPs are how food plants document their commitment to reducing contamination risk and, in turn, protecting consumers and the public.
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