During our “Hygiene in High-Risk Food Production: Keep it Clean and Chill” webinar, Deb Smith from Vikan and David Buckley from Diversey discussed the key food hygiene and sanitation challenges and solutions associated with high-risk food production facilities.
During the webinar, we had so many great questions from our audience that we weren’t able to answer them all at the time. As always, all questions were later answered by our Vikan and Diversey hygiene experts via email. Below are five of the questions and answers we thought you might find of most interest. Some questions have been edited for brevity and clarity.
1. Do you recommend dry cleaning for high-risk food production?
It will greatly depend on whether dry cleaning (and dry sanitization/disinfection) will reduce the hazards you are trying to control to an acceptable level. Unfortunately, only you (and your team) will be able to determine this. You know the hazards you are trying to control, and the acceptable levels that need to be achieved. If you can design a dry sanitation protocol that achieves these levels, as demonstrated through method validation and sanitation performance monitoring and/or verification, then yes – we would recommend it. However, achieving the acceptable level may be more challenging if you only use dry sanitation methods.
Regardless, we would recommend that you consider the use of dry and controlled water use cleaning methods, wherever practical, to remove the bulk of soils prior to any further wet sanitation, as any reduction in water use will reduce cost and reduce the risk of contamination spread.
Commonly employed dry or low-moisture techniques that can be used for full sanitation or adjunct to other sanitation processes are:
- Alcohol-based, ready-to-use cleaners and antimicrobial
- Air guns
- Fogging or misting
- Dry ice blasting
- Microfiber cloth cleaning
2. Would you suggest using enzymatic cleaners?
Yes, if the price is right and you trust your sanitation process standards are being achieved. Enzymes can provide a benefit to a cleaner’s performance but the marketing around enzymes should be scrutinized by the purchaser. The bulk of cleaning is not provided by the enzyme. The bulk of cleaning power is provided by the cleaning agent, such as the surfactants. These provide quick action, whereas enzyme activity can be dependent upon a variety of factors, such as time, pH, and temperature.
It’s also important to ask the manufacturer what the usage parameters are of an enzymatic cleaner and to be sure that it nests with your sanitation goals. For instance, there’s one popular enzymatic cleaner that must be used with cold water, otherwise it inactivates the enzyme, and so you’re stuck with cold water cleaning.
If you require further information and support, please do not hesitate to reach out to David Buckley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Are there any special cleaning tools that are more efficient and effective to use in high-risk facilities?
Cleaning of food-contact and non-food contact surfaces is an essential component of a site’s sanitation program and necessary for the production of safe and quality food. Consequently, appropriate selection and management of cleaning tools is also essential, since these can become both sources and vectors of contamination. Further information about this is available in our blog: How to Keep Cleaning Tools from Becoming Vectors of Contamination (remcoproducts.com).
As mentioned in the webinar, hygienically designed cleaning tools, i.e., those that are easy to clean, can significantly reduce the risk of cross-contamination in high-risk facilities. They are also a requirement of some global food safety standards, including BRCGS and FSSC22000. Look for tools with some of the following hygienic design features:
- No sharp angles
- Accessible areas for cleaning and disinfection/sanitization, e.g., no nooks and crannies, no deep recesses.
- One-piece construction or easily to dismantle
- Smooth surfaces
- Made of appropriate food-contact compliant materials
Vikan’s Ultra-Safe Technology brushes and Ultra-Hygiene squeegees are great examples of hygienically designed tools. However, please note that a hygienic designed tool also needs to be properly cleaned, stored, and maintained before and after use. More information is available in our white paper at: Choosing Hygienically Designed Cleaning Tools (ipaper.io).
If you require further information and support, please reach out to Deb Smith at email@example.com or Amit M. Kheradia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Are there are recommendations for approved cleaners for an organic-certified site?
The National Organic Program (NOP) leaves very little room for chemical formulators to work with in terms of cleaning and we are not aware of any NOP-compliant cleaners. Having said that, we aren’t sure that you need one! For instance, non-food contact surfaces, such as floors and drains, do not need any such special cleaners. Also, in the case of a food contact surface that has been cleaned, they need to be rinsed before the final sanitizer step is applied.
Our preference for the final sanitizer step is Peroxyacetic acid (PAA), which is commonly used as a no-rinse produce wash, or a hard surface sanitizer or disinfectant, depending on the product’s label directions. However, if you want an “environment-friendly cleaner,” look for products that have the EPA Safer Choice stamp.
If you require further information and support, please email David Buckley at email@example.com.
5. How can Vikan and Remco help high-risk food production facilities choose the most appropriate solutions for their hygiene and sanitation challenges?
Vikan has been supplying innovative, hygienic cleaning tools to the food and beverage industry for over 125 years. With the 2018 acquisition of Remco, a U.S.-based company, our product ranges have now extended to also include material/food handling tools and equipment.
We’d like to encourage you to explore some of the following available resources to support your company’s food safety and sanitation programs and objectives:
- Visit our website, www.vikan.com, which has extensive information about our products, the sectors we serve, and the array of services we offer, especially our knowledge center and our hygiene expertise support.
- Sign up for our free monthly newsletter, which provides you with the latest updates on the market, product launches, webinars, trade shows, upcoming company activities, and more.
- Book a complimentary site survey for your facility with one of our regional representatives, who will be able to conduct a comprehensive review of your hygiene and sanitation operations and offer best-in-class recommendations and solutions.
Our Vikan’s Virtual Site Survey Service recently won the Best New Product/Service Award from The Society of Food Hygiene and Technology (SOHFT). For more information, feel free to contact us.
Disclaimer: The responses given to these selected questions are the professional opinions of hygiene experts and are not necessarily endorsements of any of the products and services mentioned. Companies should conduct their own site-specific risk assessment and develop their own hazard controls as part of their food safety plan. For more information and support, please feel free to contact: