During inspections of food premises, the cleanliness of food rooms, equipment and utensils is taken into account in assessing the business.
To help ensure the safety of your food, it is important that surfaces and equipment are visually clean and free from high levels of harmful bacteria.
- The six cleaning steps
- Points to remember
- Cleaning schedule
The following definitions must be understood, if your premises are to meet these requirements:
- Cleaning: the removal of visible food debris and grease. This requires the use of physical energy, heat and/or chemicals.
- Disinfection: the reduction of bacteria to a safe level. This is usually done by the use of special chemicals intended for food use, or by heat (hot water at around 82°C or steam)
- Detergent: a chemical used to remove food debris and grease.
- Disinfectant: a chemical used for disinfection (kills germs).
- Sanitiser: a chemical which both cleans and disinfects
The Six Steps of Cleaning and Disinfecting
Cleaning and disinfection generally consists of six steps:
- Pre-clean - remove excess food waste by sweeping, wiping or pre-rinsing.
- Main clean - loosen surface waste and grease using a detergent.
- Rinse - remove loose food waste, grease and detergent.
- Disinfection - kill the bacteria.
- Final rinse - remove the disinfectant.
- Drying - remove all moisture.
Points to Remember
- With light contamination the pre-clean and main clean can be combined.
- Some surfaces do not need to be disinfected after every wash.
- Disinfect any items which come either into direct contact with food (e.g. meat slicers, work surfaces, chopping boards) or with the hands of food handlers (e.g. refrigerator door handles).
- When drying, try and let the item air-dry, but if this is not possible, then use paper towels or a clean dry cloth.
- After use, clean and dry the cleaning equipment.
- Store cleaning materials and equipment in separate cupboards or rooms, away from food. Never put food cleaning materials into unmarked containers or food containers.
- Ensure staff are trained to 'clean as they go' and to clean up any spillages immediately.
A cleaning schedule is probably the simplest way of organising routine cleaning. This details:
- What is to be cleaned? A list of all items which need to be cleaned
- When is it to be cleaned? How often each item should be cleaned
- How is it to be cleaned? Including the material and equipment to be used
- Who is responsible for cleaning?
- The precautions to be taken
How to Use a Cleaning schedule
Having written your cleaning schedule, prepare charts of the schedules so that they can be displayed in each room or area.
If possible, make the charts waterproof. Ensure staff know and understand their duties under the schedule and that there is supervision by management so that standards can be monitored.