The proper identification, storage and use of cleaners, sani- tizers and other chemicals in fast food restaurants are in eed of attention. That’s a statement by an FDA report on
the Occurrence of Foodborne Illness Risk Factors in Foodservice,
Restaurant and Retail Facilities. Those who buy, sell and use wipes
for these facilities are all part of the solutions, and opportunities.
Any producer, packager or user of wipes for foodservice cleaning and sanitizing can contribute to the reduction of occurrence
of foodborne illness that is“in need of priority attention” according to the FDA. It starts with basics like industry terminology.
Many people are confused about the difference between clean,
sanitized and disinfected. They are different processes with different outcomes. Improper cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces opens the way for the transmission of potentially
dangerous microbes to food and eventually to the public. To clean
is to remove visible soil, food debris, and other types of soil from
a surface. Cleaning is usually performed using chemicals, in the
form of a surfactant (soap), warm water, and scrubbing. Cleaning
can include—individually or in combination—detergents, solvents, abrasive cleaners, and acid cleaners.
Cleaning is only the first step. In the food industry, cleaning is
followed by sanitizing. Sanitizing removes what you can’t see.
Sanitizing is the act of reducing the number of bacteria and other
microorganisms on a clean surface to safe levels.
The worst instances of cross-contamination are use of the wiping rag. Cleaning cloths, if used moist, must be kept in a bucket
of CLEAN sanitizer according to the FDA Food Code. Verification
of proper sanitizer concentration is done by using sanitizer test
strips. Companies like Legacy Converting of Cranbury, NJ, who
sell wipers for the food service industry assist customers, in their
case by providing a Quat Test Presentation, a sanitizing method.
Sanitizer effectiveness is based on several factors, including
concentration of the solution, water temperature & water hardness, and contact time. Any sanitizer being used for food contact
surfaces must be EPA approved for that use. Sanitizing lowers the
number of germs to a safe level.
Disinfecting is defined as killing germs on objects and surfaces. Disinfecting is a normal requirement in critical care areas
of healthcare facilities. Some proponents of disinfecting think
that the foodservice industry should widely be using disinfecting
techniques, another subject with another protocol. All of these
processes, cleaning-sanitizing-disinfecting are targeted at reducing or virtually eliminating hazardous situations in the food service and similar industries.
EPA regulates antimicrobial pesticides intended for use on
SURFACES while the FDA regulates products intended for use in
or on humans or animals.
Bleach-based and quaternary ammonium sanitizers are the
most commonly used in foodservice facilities. Unlike bleach
and bleach-based compounds, “quats” can be used to both
clean and sanitize a surface. However, quats need a longer
contact time with a soiled surface and, once applied, should be
Wipes Play Key Role in
Food Service Cleanup
Wipes continue to gain importance for their role in
helping to reduce occurrence of foodborne illness.
By Susan Stansbury, Right Angle Concepts