Cleaning and Sanitizing Food Surfaces
Food contact surfaces
A surface needs to be cleaned thoroughly before sanitization. The steps involved in cleaning and sanitizing are:
It involves removal of contaminants like dirt, food residues, grease and harmful bacteria from a surface. This is achieved using clean water and proper deterging agent. For the proper cleaning of surfaces or utensils:
• First, pre-scrap the utensils or surfaces and rinse with clean water to get rid of most of the food residues, debris/ dirt;
• Second, wash with detergent and warm water to remove the remaining food residues or dirt from the surface;
• At last, rinse with clean water to remove the residues of detergent from the washed utensils or surfaces.
Right detergents for the task should be used to effectively remove food residues from utensils and surfaces.
After cleaning, next important step is to sanitize the food contact surfaces of utensils and equipment. The sanitization can be done in following ways:
• Use of hot water and immerse the washed utensils in it for not less than one minute to sterilizer; or
• Adding a non-toxic bactericidal agent in water not less than 24 ºC, and immerse the washed utensils in it for at least one minute; or
• Use a mechanical dishwasher with inbuilt sanitizing process.
In food industry, most of the bactericidal agents are chlorine based compounds. Instructions regarding the optimal concentration in water must be followed, and contact the supplier if case the instructions are not clear.
The washed utensils must be left for air dry, and should not be wiped with cloth to dry.
The washed utensils must be stored in a cupboard that is free of dust and access to pests, if not been used immediately.
Non-Food contact surfaces:
Non-food contact surfaces include refrigerators, cupboards, racks, cooking ranges, stoves, hot-holdings and food lifts. All these surfaces should be kept clean and in good working condition.
Non-food contact surfaces should be frequently cleaned to prevent accumulation of grease and dirt, if possible once a week or more as required. They must be cleaned systematically, for instance, first walls followed by non-food contact surfaces such as refrigerators, cupboards, cooking ranges, and finally the floors.
To properly clean the non-food contact surfaces:
• Remove food debris and dirt by brush, wiping cloths, etc.;
• Rinse it with clean water;
• Apply cleaning agent and wash with brush to remove remaining debris.
• Again rinse with clean water; and
• Finally, air dry.
2. Maintenance of Refrigerators (including Chillers and Walk-in Freezers)
Refrigerators should always maintain the temperature at or below 4 ºC for storing perishable food should. It is preferred to keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to indicate the temperature at which the food is being stored.
• Always keep the refrigerator doors closed, except during use.
• Avoid overstocking of refrigerators to allow free circulation of cold air for maintaining food at optimum temperature.
• Keep the surfaces inside the refrigerators clean, including the rims.