Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production
Sanitized Production Room

Sanitation: the first line of defense in any food safety plan

Posted August 19, 2020 by Brent Marnin, Account Manager, Food Production
Food Safety

Sanitation standards have drastically changed over the years. The days of spraying bleach and calling it good are long gone, which is certainly for the betterment of overall food safety. Regardless of the advances in sanitation, thorough and effective practices remain paramount to the overall success of an organization’s food safety plan.

Build a foundation on sanitation.

There’s no debate that sanitation maintains and restores a state of cleanliness and promotes hygiene to prevent foodborne illnesses. As food processors are required to operate under stringent guidelines, relying on scientifically sound, clearly defined, repeatable processes that are implemented consistently, they can achieve the industry’s collective goal—producing safe, wholesome food products for consumers.

For some, sanitation is more of an after-thought, something to address when processing is done and to be monitored on its own. However, we at ARM & HAMMER firmly believe sanitation is the first line of defense against harmful bacteria and pathogens. And as such we believe sanitation is the first item we want to address.

When we are brought into a processing facility to troubleshoot issues, or provide consultation, our first area of focus is sanitation. After all, there are no products or technologies that can overcome an unclean environment. We examine the plant’s overall practices and SOPs to understand if their process is effective or if there are areas that could be improved. Sanitation is the foundation that effective food safety plans must be built on.

With an effective sanitation process in place, we can begin to troubleshoot any other areas of concern in the area of food safety and pathogen control. Implementing food safety interventions on top of sanitation is the first step in a multi-hurdle approach. We partner with  food safety teams in processing plants helping  technicians develop an effective and productive food safety plan.

A sanitation strategy to remember.

Despite variations in sanitation practices, all plans must adjust according to soil load, surface area to be cleaned, time and other factors that affect cleaning and sanitation practices. An easy way to remember important components in implementing an effective sanitation program is T.A.C.T.—Time, Action, Concentration, Temperature. Although a simple acronym, this strategy helps teams maintain effective sanitation programs.

  • Time: Time allowed to properly clean a surface.
  • Action: The energy required to adequately clean a surface.
  • Concentration: The amount of detergent needed to properly clean a surface. This is most often determined by soil load, type of cleaning required and manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Temperature: The temperature at which detergent and/or sanitizer is most effective.

In an ideal world, all four factors would be equally balanced. But the reality is it is more like a sliding scale adjusting in one area to compensate for deficiencies in others. Therefore, if one factor like time is reduced, it’s important to compensate with one of the other factors.

Winning solutions for food safety.

When sanitation is placed as a top priority, overall food safety is bolstered. As food processors continue to look for ways to improve the sanitation process, using the T.A.C.T. method with food safety interventions is a winning food safety solution. We’re here to be your partner and help mitigate challenges facing your plant. Contact us to discuss solutions for optimizing your facility’s food safety strategy.

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