The CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences pilot-scale batch retort.

The CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences pilot-scale batch retort.

Cleaning and sanitation in food processing areas

This fact sheet describes cleaning and sanitation procedures for food processing equipment and surfaces such as floors and benches in food processing and preparation areas.

  • 26 October 2009 | Updated 14 October 2011

Introduction

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This fact sheet describes cleaning and sanitation procedures for food processing equipment and surfaces such as floors and benches in food processing and preparation areas.

The information provided is primarily based on the Australian Standard AS 4709–2001 Guide to cleaning and sanitizing of plant and equipment in the food industry - obtainable at SAI Global [external link].

A clean surface is defined as being free from soil (e.g. food residues), free from bad odours, be non-greasy to the touch and have no visible oxidation (e.g. rust).

A sanitized clean surface is defined as a clean surface that is substantially free from pathogenic microorganisms and undesirable numbers of spoilage microorganisms.

Cleaning prior to sanitizing is recommended as it increases the effectiveness of the sanitizing step.

Effective cleaning and sanitation programs are required to achieve the correct level of hygiene in food handling or production facilities. If these are not adhered to there is a greater risk of food becoming contaminated by pathogenic or spoilage microorganisms. 

Cleaning prior to sanitizing is recommended as it increases the effectiveness of the sanitizing step.

There is also a risk of biofilms forming on factory and food preparation surfaces if these programs are inadequate.

Biofilms are complex aggregations of microorganisms and other materials which enhance survival and growth of microorganisms; once formed they are very difficult to remove.

Cleaning and sanitation programs include the following steps:

  • routine procedures performed throughout and at the completion of food processing or preparation on a daily basis
  • periodic procedures required less frequently
  • monitoring to ensure the procedures are performed correctly
  • verification to check effectiveness of the program.

The safety of staff must be considered when developing these programs, including the safe use of chemicals and hot water, and reducing manual labour.