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Food-safe chemicals for food safety

Grease, oil and microbiological contaminants can derail the operations of any food processing unit. How can cleaning chemicals tackle this triple threat? Ashwin Suresh, Managing Director, Megamorph Marketing Pvt Ltd writes.

All food businesses need to ensure a clean and safe workplace, thereby safeguarding the quality of food and avoiding pathogens that are easily transmitted. Having an unhygienic food business will not only increase severe chances of infection but also lead to bad reputation and food waste.

Hazards and guidelines

There are three potential hazards in a kitchen:

  • Oil build up, leading to fire and/or slips
  • Cross contamination
  • Microbiological

To prevent these hazards from causing serious harm, there are strict guidelines a food business must operate under:

  • Clean and disinfect between tasks
  • Clean as you go
  • Use disinfection products that adhere to regulations
  • Dispose of food waste suitably
  • Operate a strict cleaning schedule
  • Ensure colour coding of cooking & preparation utensils
  • Use of dedicated equipment for certain kinds of food

FSSAI has released regulations and guidelines around hand hygiene, cleanliness & sanitisation and has conducted several awareness programs to educate and elevate the standards of hygiene. The guidance encourages regular washing of hands and use of alcohol-based sanitisers to ensure no microbial hazard is transferred from the worker to the food. Products that help maintain hand hygiene should have variants that are with and without fragrance and be safe to use in food preparation areas.

Cleaning program for food units

Most of the solutions available for the food processing industry are highly concentrated and hence help the industry save on logistics costs, storage space and inventory management. An effective cleaning program designed by our team will ensure:

  • Regular cleaning of food residue and waste, thereby eliminating growth media for bacteria, fungii or moulds
  • No build up of oil and grease, hence avoiding slippery floors or fire hazards
  • No cross-contamination between different kinds of food with different shelf lives.

The guidelines also suggest use of QAC-based, peroxide-based and alcohol-based disinfectants for sanitisation of food contact areas, common touch points and the food premises at regular intervals to minimise the risk of contamination. Benzalkonium Chloride, Sodium Hypochlorite and 70% Isopropanol help the industry cope and fight the invisible threat of microbes. Having tested these products against various strains of bacteria and viruses, we can demonstrate the effectiveness with third-party validation.

Beyond daily cleaning

Although it’s important to clean food preparation areas and floors daily, it’s worth conducting a regular ‘deep clean’ by pulling equipment such as fridges and cupboards away from the wall and cleaning the floor underneath. Deep cleans can be carried out weekly or monthly, depending on the size of your business. The cleanliness of your premises is essential for making your kitchen an inhospitable place for pests to be in. An effective cleaning and sanitisation program along with regular training and hygiene audits can transform any food processing unit, allowing it to focus on production without fear.

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