When a piece of food contact equipment is in continuous use, it should be cleaned and sanitized at least every four hours. Heavy-use items, such as deli slicers, knives, and chopping boards, need to be cleaned more often. It is also important to clean the equipment after receiving deliveries and during busy rush periods. Listed below are the steps you should take to ensure your tools are clean.
Cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces
The most effective cleaning methods for food contact surfaces include rinsing them with hot water and a chemical sanitizing solution after each use. Non-porous surfaces such as plastic and rubber are less likely to be damaged by acids and other chemicals, but they should still be cleaned regularly. Hard wood surfaces, on the other hand, should only be used in limited applications.
The frequency of cleaning is clearly defined for each process line, as well as the type of sanitizer used. The objective of sanitizing food-contact surfaces is to remove the nutrients that bacteria need to grow. When sanitizing food contact surfaces, equipment and surfaces must be drained and stored in a sanitary manner. In addition, the proper sanitation is critical to the food-preparation process.
It is important to remember that sanitizers work best when used at temperatures between 55 degrees Fahrenheit and 120 degrees Celsius. It is important to use them for the recommended duration of time, because they will become ineffective if the materials are in contact with soil and other contaminants. Additionally, these products may react with inactivators, which can make the surfaces ineffective.
Cleaning nonmetallic surfaces
Cleaning nonmetallic surfaces when food contact equipment has sanitary design and cleanability standards is essential for preventing contamination of food. While some materials, such as plastic, are corrosive, they are still a better choice than wood, which is highly porous. Nonmetallic surfaces also must be subjected to the same cleanability and sanitary design standards as metal, including frequent inspections and sanitizing.
In addition to cleaning the non-metallic surfaces of food contact equipment, manufacturers must also consider the construction and composition of the equipment. Stainless steel is the preferred material, while aluminum can be corroded by acids. Alternatively, cleaning products with alkaline pH can disintegrate aluminum quickly. Non-metallic surfaces are becoming more common in some industries, and cleaning products can present a challenge for nonmetallic surfaces.
Besides cleaning the nonmetallic surfaces of food contact equipment, the food handlers must also train staff to clean all the utensils and equipments regularly. In addition to cleaning them after use, these employees must make sure that the surfaces are dry and sanitized before reusing them. Cleaning nonmetallic surfaces when food contact equipment is in constant use is critical for preventing contamination and preserving sanitary standards.
Cleaning soft metals
Hard and soft metal surfaces can both be made from plastic or rubber, but they are more prone to corrosion. Aluminum, for example, is easily attacked by acids and rendered unclean by alkaline cleaners. Plastic surfaces can also be damaged by stress cracking or clouding after prolonged exposure. Only hard wood or sealed wood surfaces should be used when they are not in continuous use. Cleaners must be suitable for the material.