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Cleaning and disinfection in the food industry: best practices

The cleaning and disinfection operations of premises in the Food Industry represent both a public health issue and a human issue.

The industrial food industry is intended to transform raw materials into food products for human consumption and covers many sectors of activity such as the meat industry, the sugar industry, cereal-based products or still the manufacture of drinks and alcohols.

Summary :

  • Our selection of cleaning products for the food industry
  • Cleaning-disinfection in the food industry
  • The cleaning plan
  • Operation mode
  • Proper use of food hygiene products
  • Appropriate PPE
  • Central cleaning and disinfection

It is also one of the most risky activities in terms of health and safety. The cleaning and disinfection operations of premises in the Food Industry represent both a public health issue and a human issue.

They are part of a regulatory framework and must meet very strict standards of hygiene and cleanliness while preserving the health and safety of employees.

This article in the form of a good practice guide presents the main recommendations to be taken into account to implement effective preventive measures to eliminate or reduce the risks associated with food processing and packaging.

To carry out all cleaning-disinfection operations , factories can turn to specialized cleaning companies or assign an in-house team.

Cleaning-disinfection in the food industry

The objective of the organizational measures is to fight against transmission routes of various origins:

  1. machine dirt
  2. waste from treated products
  3. contamination
  4. microbiological and chemical infections.

They are mainly organized around four essential tools

The cleaning plan

This is a reference document that translates the measures put in place to clean and disinfect, and details the frequency of intervention. It must comply with the HACCP system (1) which imposes rules in terms of food hygiene.

The objective of this preventive measure is to fight against the identified transmission routes and from various origins: dirt from tools and cleaning machines; waste from treated products, contamination, and microbiological and chemical infections.

Operation mode

It defines the different cleaning processes that will be used depending on the places and surfaces to be maintained (wiping, sculling, stripping, vacuuming, etc.).

It is accompanied by a product repository which details all the information you need to know in order to comply with the instructions for use:

  • multi-surface food degreaser
  • virucidal disinfectant without rinsing
  • eco-labeled agri-food cleaner
  • diluted cleaning products
  • Cleansing products in capsules , granules, powders, single-dose sachet formulations, etc.

Proper use of food hygiene products

All industrial cleaning operations use  food-grade detergents and biocides to remove dirt or kill micro-organisms present on floors, walls, work surfaces, tools, etc.). Like all chemicals, food detergent is only effective if used in accordance with the TACT (2) principle, known as Sinner’s Circle. So it is necessary :

  • Use products in compliance with the regulations,
  •  Have a perfect knowledge of the products used (user training) ,to refer constantly to the safety data sheets – SDS which clearly indicate all the useful information to best identify the products as well as their usefulness: composition, properties, instructions for use and safety,…,
  • to choose the right products, taking into account their effectiveness and their toxicity: agri-food degreaser for equipment, hoods, ventilation grilles, etc. food disinfectant for work surfaces, floors, descaler for stainless steel tanks, etc.

Appropriate PPE

Any food-grade cleaning product has the potential to cause skin irritation. The toxicity and harmfulness of all food-processing detergents and examination of these products is a must . The risk assessment will then determine the  Personal Protective Equipment intended to prevent accidents at work by protecting workers: work clothes, masks, safety shoes, gloves, etc.

Central cleaning and disinfection

The  cleaning and disinfection center is also called a hygiene center or a cleaning station. It provides optimal cleaning for professional and public premises (central kitchen, food preparation areas, sanitary facilities, etc.). It allows the right dilution of products, effective spraying and optimized rinsing. You save product and water. Mix using a venturi system. It does not require electrical power or compressed air.

(1) HACCP: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points

(2) TACT Temperature – Mechanical action – Chemistry – Action time

Read More: The different industrial cleaning techniques


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