Why We Need Food Manufacturing Guidelines

Food Processing

In 2009, Peanut Corp. of America, one of the largest peanut processors in the U.S., filed for bankruptcy. The reason? They failed to prevent contamination of their products from salmonella, which eventually tied to 9 deaths and more than 700 illnesses. And while this is just one extreme example, food recalls happen often, and many times, they can be traced back to poor sanitation and improper cleaning of food preparation areas.

Food manufacturing plants, and any other place that serves or handles food, should be very familiar with proper food safety guidelines. Not only is it the law to follow these guidelines, it is important to hold your plant to high standards of cleanliness for the safety of your consumers, not to mention the livelihood of your business. A recall stems from tainted product, but it can also lead to a tainted business image.

Who Regulates Food Manufacturing?

Both the FDA and USDA regulate various aspects of food safety. While it is their job to inspect food preparation and manufacturing areas, it is the core responsibility of the facility to make sure that they are following cleaning and sanitation procedures to the best of their ability.

Proper Food Manufacturing Cleaning and Sanitation

The main objective of food manufacturing plants should be to produce products that are safe and contaminant free. If your plant masters the processes of cleaning and sanitizing, it will significantly reduce the chance for a recall.

As part of your sanitation procedures, you must first determine if you’re cleaning food-contact or non-food-contact surfaces. For example, some chemicals must be certified kosher for food-contact areas, and can vary greatly with the type of product being produced. While different chemicals will be used depending on what surface is being cleaned, there are four main steps to consider anywhere you clean.

Four Cleaning Steps

  1. CleanFoaming caustic cleaners are common in food manufacturing applications, because foam clings well to both horizontal and vertical surfaces. The process is to let the foam dwell, and allow it to break down and remove particulates, clinging oils and greases. This should be followed with color-coded brushes, which help to eliminate cross-contamination. Different colored brushes are designated to be used in certain areas. Once the area has been foamed and scrubbed, the water and chemicals are rinsed off equipment and squeegeed down floor drains.
  2. Neutralize – Caustic cleaners are highly alkaline, so it is good practice to follow-up with a rinsing cleaner to neutralize the area.
  3. Sanitize – This important step is to kill bacteria that is left behind after the area is cleaned. Even if the area was cleaned according to guidelines, there is still a chance that there may be leftover bacteria that you can’t see. A sanitizer will help eliminate the leftover secondary microorganisms that could compromise safety.
  4. Test – Use an ATP meter to test the clean areas. Different areas are swabbed and rated by the meter to validate the sanitation efforts. If your protocols call for it, the manufacturing line must pass the ATP test before production starts again.

Food Sanitation Programs

Sanitation and cleaning are mandatory for food manufacturing facilities, and for good reason. Food safety mishaps can lead to food recalls that result in a damaged reputation, sickness or even deaths. Follow a proper sanitation program that includes training and testing, such as Spartan Chemical’s SanitationCheck™, to reduce the chances of a recall.

Download the Spartan Chemical Food Plant Sanitation Program brochure to start planning your food safety program.

Spartan Chemical Food Plant Sanitation Program

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Courtney Petesch

Courtney Petesch is the Marketing Specialist for HP Products, a distributor of 50,000 facility maintenance products throughout the Midwest. Courtney has over 5 years of experience managing e-commerce product content and merchandising, overseeing social media initiatives, executing email marketing campaigns and evaluating analytics.