Cleaning and sanitizing food-contact surfaces is one of the most important steps to prevent foodborne illness. Here are a few reminders to protect guests:
- Reinforce the need for vigilant cleaning and sanitizing practices. Pathogens can spread to food from equipment that hasn't been properly cleaned and sanitized between uses. Cleaning removes food and other dirt from surfaces. Sanitizing reduces surface pathogens to safe levels.
- Review your cleaning and sanitizing products. Cleaners must be stable, noncorrosive and safe to use. Be sure to follow manufacturers’ instructions. Utensils and equipment can be sanitized using heat or chemicals. If you use heat to sanitize, soak items in water at least 171˚F (77˚C) for at least 30 seconds. You can also run the items through a high-temperature dishwasher. If you use chemical sanitizers, rinse, swab or spray items with a sanitizing solution. The most common types of chemical sanitizers are chlorine, iodine and quaternary ammonium compounds (or quats). Again, follow manufacturers’ instructions, as well as local regulatory requirements.
- Train staff when to clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces. Clean and sanitize items after each use and before food handlers start working with a different type of food. Also, clean and sanitize utensils and equipment after food handlers are interrupted during a task and the items may have been contaminated. If items are in constant use, clean and sanitize every four hours.