www.foodsafetyselect.com - Food Safety Select
Posted 28/07/2022

Sanitisers And Sanitising: What You Need To Know To Prevent Food Contamination, Food Poisoning and Litigation

Sanitisers And Sanitising: What You Need To Know To Prevent Food Contamination, Food Poisoning and Litigation

Food safety is one of the most important things you need to consider when running a food business. It's important that you follow the food standards to make sure you sell safe and suitable food and don't jeopardise your reputation or put customers at risk.

Not only can poor cleaning and sanitising procedures lead to the presence of food safety hazards, but inefficient cleaning and sanitising can be linked directly to the risk of cross-contamination, which is a major contributor to foodborne illness. One of the most effective strategies to prevent food contamination is to ensure that all food contact surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and sanitised. Kitchen benches, mixers, and meat slicers, along with utensils and other items that come in contact with food - must be in a clean and sanitary condition when they come into contact with food.

Sanitising is not the same as sterilising, and cleaning and sanitising are distinct processes. Sanitisers kill microorganisms that cause food poisoning and other illnesses. Every food establishment that handles food must know how to adequately sanitise. The following considerations can help you avoid food contamination, food illness, and lawsuits:

  1. Sanitising of food contact surfaces should only be done after being thoroughly cleaned.
  1. When using hot water to sanitise your food contact surfaces, they must be exposed to a time-temperature combination that ensures they are sanitised. For example, using an appropriate dishwasher (such as a commercial dishwasher), using the program that the manufacturer has specified for sanitising, or sanitising items by soaking them in very hot water (77oC for 30 sec).
  1. Food businesses that use bleach (a chlorine-based solution) as a sanitiser must follow dilution instructions. The contact time for bleach varies depending upon the product, concentration, water temperature, and other factors (such as pH). 
  1. Sanitisers that require dilution will only work well at the correct dilution. If they are too weak, they will not work effectively, or if they are too strong, you may be wasting your product or you could leave toxic residues on surfaces that come into contact with food.
  1. Only use a chemical sanitiser that is considered safe for use on food contact surfaces and considered a food-grade sanitiser. Always check the label and MSDS. The wrong chemical could contaminate your food products. 
  1. Check if your sanitiser needs to be rinsed off. Some sanitisers can leave residues and require rinsing off, while others can be safely left on your equipment. 
  1. Check how long you should leave your sanitiser on food contact surfaces. Sanitisers generally need time to work effectively. 
  1. When using a bleach-based sanitiser, make sure you replace it every 24 hours. The chemical breaks down and becomes ineffective after this time. 
  1. Prepare solutions away from food and food preparation areas. Old batches or out-of-date chemicals should be disposed of safely.
  1. Store chemicals in clearly labelled containers that are free from damage or leaks and away from food. Keep them in a designated area separate from food preparation and food storage areas. 
  1. Disinfectants and cleaning agents designed for use on floors and toilets are generally not suitable for use on food-contact surfaces.
  1. After sanitising, utensils and food contact surfaces should be thoroughly dried. Air drying is preferable; otherwise, use clean, dry, single-use towels.

There are hundreds of thousands of cases of food poisoning every year, some of which can be fatal. As a food business operator, you can’t afford to put your customers at risk, which is why you must ensure effective cleaning and sanitising of all your equipment and food contact surfaces.


Need help finding or choosing a suitable food-grade sanitiser for your business? At Food Safety Select, we can help you find the best solution for your business by matching you with the best suppliers and experts in your area.

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