Two focal points of food sanitation are protecting your brand and controlling the perpetual concerns of biofilm, Listeria and now drain maintenance. According to a 2016 article published
in Time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recalled more than
300 million total food items, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture
issued recalls for more than 60 million pounds of food. In many of
these instances, the food supply contaminant was Listeria.
Food sanitation continues to receive added emphasis in all production facilities. The Food Safety Modernization Act and improving
food safety programs will be high priorities in implementing various
processes within your facility in 2017. Training and educating your
sanitors will continue to be key drivers as you protect your brand
and/or other companies for whom you copack. One of the more
recent areas that has come under scrutiny in many facilities is floor
Attempting to maintain floor drains in a food processing facility
is difficult at best. The sole purpose of these drains is to handle a
continual flow of waste and remove it from the processing area. By
their very nature, they will have bacterial content; therefore, improper
drain-cleaning procedures can ultimately
provide one of the
likeliest paths to cross-contamination within
your facility. As drain
to gain this level of priority for food processors,
there seem to be three
general options moving forward to provide
chemical solutions that
best fit your company
and your sanitor’s plan.
A key point to remember, however, is
that there is no “magic bullet” for drains.
Independent studies indicate that to
control Listeria, the best one-two punch
is an alkaline/chlorinated degreaser and
a peracetic acid sanitizer. For many companies, these items are already in your
inventory, so you can minimize SKUs
along with chemical training.
Option number two: incorporating a
two-part program that involves your team
mixing two products on-site. The chemical properties of these two items are
based on a caustic solution and hydrogen
peroxide. By increasing the pH of peroxide, you raise its oxidizing potential so it
attacks organic material faster.
The third option is using an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered,
high-alkaline product with Listeria monocytogenes claims and others.
Biofilm is what creates all the challenges we deal with in controlling
Listeria, Salmonella, Escherichia coli…the list
goes on. The key to a successful program
to eliminate biofilm is agitation and/or
mechanical action. We must eliminate
the biofilm, thus eliminating the layering
effect that makes these microbes so difficult to destroy. The use of agitation in the
sanitization process is not optional.
This is analogous to car wash choices:
Do you prefer brushless/touch-free, or do
you prefer the soft cloth/brushes/agita-
tion to remove the soils that have ac-
cumulated on the vehicle? While in food
sanitation, there is much more at stake,
we can all understand that physical agita-
tion will remove the most soils. A com-
mon theme that emerges in many semi-
nars that focus specifically on Listeria is:
“There are no shortcuts to administering
an effective sanitation program; elbow
grease and agitation are the best ways to
eliminate the bug concerns.”
It is all about making the right choices
and taking ownership of your program.
We are confident that with your knowl-
edge and the resources available to you,
the right choice becomes easier.
To learn more about how Spartan’s
food processing sanitation program can
help you control public enemy number
one—biofilm—contact Chris Celusta,
Manager—Food Processing Sanitation,
SQF 2000 Systems Certified, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points Certified,
Preventive Controls-Qualified Individual
Certified, at ccelusta@spartanchemical.
Public Enemy Number One