Sanitation Tips - An orderly process

by MeatPoultry.com Staff
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Cleaning:
• Cleaning consists of taking action for complete removal of food soil using the right detergent chemicals as part of recommended conditions.
• Cleaning crews need to have a working understanding of the nature of different types of food soil, and how they can be removed with cleaning chemicals.
• There are three basic cleaning methods for plant crews to use: (1) Mechanical cleaning, sometimes called “clean-in-place,” which can require partial disassembly or no disassembly of equipment. (2) Clean out of place, where equipment can be disassembled and cleaned in “clean out- of-place” tanks. (3) Manual cleaning, which requires total disassembly for cleaning and inspection afterwards.
• Since food soils vary greatly in composition, no one detergent can remove all types. Many complex films contain combinations of food components, surface oil or dust, cleaner components and hard water salts not soluble.
• If crews use detergents improperly, they can actually “set” the soils, making them harder to remove.
• Many films and biofilms require more sophisticated cleaners, which are changed with oxidizing agents (such as chlorinated detergents) for removal.

Sanitizing:
• Sterilization is the removal and destruction of all living organisms in the area being sanitized.
• Sanitizing refers to the reduction of microorganisms to levels considered safe, from the viewpoint of public health.
• When plant crews are doing sanitizing, they are carrying out a process, so both the time involved in sanitizing, and the chemicals used, are very important. For example, the official definition of “successful sanitizing” of non-product surfaces requires a reduction of the contamination level by 99.9 percent.

There are two general types of sanitation carried out by cleaning and sanitation crews. They include thermal sanitation, which involves the use of hot water or steam for a specified temperature and contact time.

Hot-water sanitizing
• Typical regulatory requirements, like the Food Code for use of hot water in utensil and other sanitizing applications, specify immersion for at least 30 seconds at 170°F for manual operations, and a final rinse temperature of 165°F.
• Advantages of hot-water sanitizing for crews are they’re inexpensive, easy to apply, readily available and generally effective on a broad range of microorganisms found in a plant.
• Disadvantages of hot-water sanitation for crews is it is a slow process, which requires heat-up and cool-down times, it can be expensive and it poses safety problems for sanitation and cleaning crews. It can also help form films, as well as shorten the life of certain plant equipment, such as gaskets.

Chemical sanitizing
• Chemical sanitation involves using an approved chemical sanitizer at a specified concentration and contact time.
• The ideal chemical sanitizer should: Be approved for food-contact surface applications; have a wide range of activity for use; destroy microorganisms quickly; be stable and reliable under many conditions; and be able to tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions.

Water to clean, sanitize
• Crews need to remember water comprises about 95 to 99 percent of cleaning and sanitizing solutions.
• Water functions to carry the detergent or the sanitizer to the surface.
• Water also carries food soils or contamination from the surface.
• The impurities in water can drastically change the effectiveness of a detergent or sanitizer.
• Water pH ranges from 5 to 8.5. While this range has no great effect on detergents or sanitizers, highly alkaline or acidic water may require crews to add buffering agents.
• Water can also carry microorganisms. Water used for cleaning and sanitizing must be potable and pathogen-free. 

This list is to be used only as a guideline. Address specific questions to your supervisor.

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