Cleaning and Sanitation

Cleaning -2


Cleaning and sanitation of your plant and equipment should be a standard continuation of your good manufacturing practices of your food processes.  You make a mess – you clean the mess.  You modify the operations – you re-set the operations for the next start up.


Cleaning and sanitation is important because:

  • Your consumers don’t get sick from food poisoning
  • Your consumers don’t die from food poisoning
  • Your consumers don’t die from allergen cross contamination
  • It maintains good order and organisation with your food processes
  • It allows you to conduct efficient and more accurate stock take
  • It allows you to perform better stock rotation
  • It allows you to save money
  • It minimises the probability of a product recall due to high pathogenic bacteria counts on microbiolgical laboratory reports or allergen cross contamination or other contaminant risks such as physical or chemical


How, I hear you ask?

  • Using cleaned and sanitised plant and equipment shall eradicate or reduce pathogenic bacteria levels to non-poisoning levels
  • Using colour-coded equipment shall remind staff which plant and equipment is product-specific to prevent allergen cross contamination
  • Using cleaned and sanitised plant and equipment shall remove allergenic proteins from them
  • Having a clean and tidy facility boosts staff morale and encourages order and respectability of the plant and equipment
  • Giving staff accountability of their job duties and responsibilities encourages due diligence towards the finished product, plant and equipment
  • Counting stock is easier to do when the facility is already neat and tidy
  • Discarding expired stock or unopened, but not properly covered stock is reduced when the facility practices good cleaning practices
  • Effective cleaning and sanitation is your insurance policy against a product recall, which damages your business reputation


HACCP Status

Cleaning and sanitation is a support program to the HACCP program.



The scope of the cleaning and sanitation support program is from raw material receival to storage to processing to despatch to serving/transport of product.  It includes all plant and equipment, doors, windows, floors, ceilings, bench tops, utilities, and staff members that have potential contact with the food process.



  • The purpose of this support program is to ensure stringent cleaning and sanitation processes are conducted to protect the finished product from potential cross contaminations from dirt, chemicals, and pathogenic bacteria
  • To ensure elements of these procedures are included in staff training



The cleaner shall be able to understand:

  • The purpose of Safety Data Sheets
  • Chemical safety and cleaning processes
  • The Application Chart and Cleaning Schedule


Chemical Safety

To ensure correct usage of all chemicals handled, the following procedures must be followed.  Correct handling of chemicals eliminates the likelihood of injury to one’s health and safety.


SDS | Safety Data Sheets

Before you use the chemical, read the SDS in full and ensure all is understood.  If there is something you do not understand or if you cannot locate an SDS, speak to your supervisor.

  • SDS are always updated with fresher information.  They should never be more than five years old.  The QA team should monitor SDS updates and communicate these updates with all relevant staff
  • Every SDS will have the following information:
  • Statement of hazardous nature and the supplier’s details
  • Identification of chemical and health hazard information
  • Precautions of use and safe handling information
  • All safety equipment specified in the SDS must be used every time you use that chemical
  • All chemicals shall be stored in accordance with the instructions of that chemical as stated within the SDS. If you find that it is not, ensure practice is corrected with staff
  • Treat all chemical spills as an emergency and clean up straight away. Instruction on how to clean up the spill will be stated within the SDS
  • If poisoning occurs, follow the procedure in that SDS


Chemical Usage 

  • Use the correct chemical and equipment for the job: ALWAYS follow the cleaning instructions
  • Never mix chemicals and always use protective gloves when handling chemicals
  • Mix water to chemicals – NOT chemical to water
  • Do not purposely inhale chemicals


Chemical Storage

  • All chemicals to be stored in the designated chemical storage area only
  • Follow the sign of listed chemicals and their usage
  • Never place chemicals on food processing plant and equipment
  • All containers holding chemicals will be for the correct type. DO NOT PLACE A CHEMICAL IN THE WRONG CONTAINER.  LABEL ALL CHEMICALS CORRECTLY


Chemical Disposal

  • NEVER re-use or re-label an empty chemical container
  • Empty containers are retained within chemical storage until collected by the supplier


Hazard Chemical Spillages

  • In Australia, the Poisons Information Centre number is 13 11 26
  • Isolate area with safety signs and ensure you are wearing the appropriate safety equipment
  • Mop or wipe area using detergentCLEAN ALL SPILLS IMMEDIATELY
  • Ensure you have read the first aid information on the chemical safety data sheet – some chemicals instruct to induce vomiting, whilst others instruct to drink water. It is very important for human health that the correct instruction is followed
  • Depending on the type of chemicals on site may determine the type of emergency planning you have available for your staff. Some suggestions are:
    • Eye wash facility
    • Shower facility
    • Emergency chemical spillage kit
    • First aid kit


Cleaning Elements

There are five basic elements involved in all cleaning procedures:


  1. Water
  • Water is the solvent we use in most cleaning operations
  • Use good quality and clean water to remove dirt and stains
  • Use plenty of clean water


  1. Action
  • Never scrub too hard as to damage the surface of the equipment being cleaned
  • Ensure correct usage of cleaning material (i.e. soft or hard sponge) for the dirt or stain


  1. Time
  • Ensure the correct time of leaving chemical on dirt or stain is applied.  This information can be found in the SDS


  1. Chemical
  • Ensure the correct dilution measurement is used
  • Ensure the correct chemical is used for the job at hand
  • Ensure the chemical used does not damage the equipment
  • Always use the safest chemical for the job at hand
  • Always follow the instructions on the SDS


  1. Heat
  • All cleaning chemicals increase their activity as the temperature increases.  Therefore, to improve your cleaning of hard surfaces, an increase in the temperature of water may be all that is required to save time
  • When mopping floors, always use very warm water.  This allows the floor to dry quicker


Cleaning Instruction

Don’t take short cuts.  Make sure you clean carefully and thoroughly, especially in the hard to reach areas.  Ensure all critical areas are cleaned and sanitised responsibly.  Use the four basic steps to clean effectively: pre-clean, main clean, air dry, sanitise.


Cleaning Steps

Pre-Clean 1.     Remove all waste material and residue

2.     Pre-rinse or wipe down equipment

Main Clean 3.     Clean and scrub equipment with food-grade detergent

4.     Rinse away detergent, using hot water at ≥66°c

5.     Visually inspect equipment (may be conducted by your supervisor)

6.     Repeat process 4, if necessary

Air Dry 7.     Remove excess moisture and allow to air dry
(Main Clean): 8.     Floors: wash and rinse floors and allow to dry
Sanitise 9.     Sanitise equipment and floors (follow sanitiser instructions carefully)



  • Ensure cleaning equipment is kept clean and maintained in good health. g. Mop heads
  • Cleaning equipment is also air dried and if required, sanitised
  • Cover all food before cleaning is undertaken
  • Follow the safety data sheets and application chart when using chemicals
  • Always return chemicals to their rightful place
  • Sanitise surfaces at the beginning of each day as well as at the end
  • Make sure the outside of the workplace is also kept clean
  • Clean from top to bottom rather than the other way around, otherwise dust and food will fall onto contaminated areas
  • Mop buckets and other cleaning equipment must be cleaned, sanitised and air-dried after use
  • If pooled water occurs on floor, gather with mop and bucket; discard used water down cleaning sink and use cleaning chemicals for final mop
  • Pour dirty water down the cleaning sink; never down sinks for food or hand washing
  • Never use steel wool to clean plant, equipment, utensils or any other products
  • Work from outside corners to the centre of the room.  This will prevent soil from gathering in the corners of the room
  • Cloths used to wipe down surfaces and equipment may be soaked in sanitiser during the day.  Note: Sanitising solutions must be changed daily (disposable paper towels can be used as an alternative to cloths and sponges)
  • Supervisors to use a documented cleaning checklist to ensure effective cleaning is performed

Clean As You Go

  • Food preparation areas should be cleaned and sanitised regularly throughout the day
  • All plant and equipment used to prepare and pack product should be cleaned and sanitised regularly throughout the day
  • Floors should be cleaned frequently throughout the day


When To Clean

It is very important that you follow a documented cleaning and sanitation schedule (instructions) that stipulates when cleaning of a plant or equipment should take place.  The cleaning schedule should include:

  • WHO    Who is to clean
  • WHAT  What is to be cleaned; What chemicals and equipment are required for the cleaning
  • WHEN  When it should be cleaned
  • HOW    How it should be cleaned
  • WHY    Contamination awareness or major threats


Allergen Control

  • Know your allergens.  Know what product just produced.  Know what is next to be made
  • Cleaning and sanitation of product contact surfaces must occur if there is product changeover
  • Ensure all utensils, containers, trolleys, trays etc are given equal attention
  • Ensure cleaning procedures are followed, with emphasis on allergen management
  • Clearance required by the supervisors from non-allergen production to allergen production
  • Where applicable, ensure colour-coding tools and equipment is in use and is correctly being used


Cleaning Chemicals and Equipment

All cleaning products and equipment are located in their designated cleaning and chemical storage area.  All chemicals are listed on file and also displayed within cleaning and chemical storage.  Toilet cleaning materials are stored separately from all other cleaning materials.


Food Grade Detergents

  • Used to remove dirt or stains from surfaces
  • Detergents do not kill bacteria


Food Grade Sanitisers

  • Used after detergents
  • Sanitisers reduce levels of bacteria



  • Disinfectants are chemicals which often have strong perfumes
  • Not used on plant and equipment
  • Used only around staff amenities, walls, floors



  • Brooms for sweeping     (non-wooden)
  • Disposable sponges       (colour-coded)
  • Mops and buckets          (non-wooden and colour-coded green)
  • Scrappers                      (hard plastic and metal only)
  • Strictly no steel wool or wire brushes should be permitted


Equipment Quality

Sturdy and hygienically designed cleaning equipment is better than cost-conscious equipment because:

  • They have a reduced number of gaps, seams, and crevices in the cleaning equipment, where microorganisms multiply and hide
  • They last longer therefore there are reduced repeated purchases of the same equipment
  • They make cleaning easier


When purchasing sturdy and hygienically designed cleaning equipment, ensure they have the following attributes:

  • Appropriately temperature and chemical resistant. Every tool should have stated temperature ranges
  • Easy to clean and dry. They should be of one-piece construction, quick and easy to dismantle/re-assemble, or offer easy access to all areas for cleaning and disinfection
  • Free of crevices and contamination traps. They should have smooth welds and the absence of small holes, recesses, and sharp internal angles
  • Hygienic product markings. Product markings like logos must use the best technical and hygienic methods possible.
  • Made of food-safe materials. All additives, including colorants, must be non-toxic and “food-grade” of a recognized standard and must not contain lead, mercury, or cadmium
  • Made with appropriate filling material retention. Bristle retention must be by means of oxidation-proof wire, recognized food-grade standard epoxy resin, or through fused construction
  • No hollow or flagged fibers. This invites contamination and can offer space for microorganisms to multiply.
  • Non-absorbent
  • Smooth surface finish (Ra < .08 μm). This excludes foamed plastic and wood blocks, as they often have rough surface finishes
  • Well-constructed. Tools should be durable




  • Only staff members specifically trained in these procedures are permitted to clean
  • All cleaners must sign the training register to receipt their understanding of the cleaning procedures
  • All cleaning is checked and marked against the cleaning checklist


Staff Training

  • Regardless of the type of chemical in use, always ensure there is staff training prior to staff commencement of chemical usage
  • Have this training documented, using a training register
  • To ensure the training was effective, observe the staff member and report your findings on the training register – is further training required? Further mentoring required?
  • Have a documented procedure for cleaning and sanitation that covers everything: safety data sheets, chemical usage, cleaning instructions, care towards allergen cross contamination, etc
  • Ensure the documented cleaning program is accessible to all staff as a reference point
  • Ensure refresher training is conducted – annually or otherwise
  • Ensure cleaning observations form part of the regular internal audits
  • Use the information within the article to create or update your own cleaning program


Quality Control

  • The supervisor inspects all aspects of the food process to ensure the integrity of the cleaning is at the expected high standard, signing the cleaning checklist to acknowledge cleaning has occurred to their satisfaction
  • The supervisor conducts pre-operational inspections of the food process areas to ensure all is clean before the commencement of production
  • All critical areas are documented on the cleaning checklist
  • Cleaning is also inspected by the QA team on an audit report
  • If anything is found not to be clean, it is cleaned prior to the commencement of production and documented on either an audit report or cleaning checklist
  • Any ongoing issues are discussed during the management review meetings



  • Environmental swabs are conducted to ensure the effectiveness of the cleaning and sanitising procedures.  Verified results are documented on the product and environment trend report and will determine if a change in procedure or chemical control is required
  • Swabs are conducted against microbiological contamination
  • Where applicable swabs may also be conducted against chemical contamination (allergens)
  • Results are discussed during the management review meetings


Cleaning -1

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