In food processing, proper maintenance is important to ensure a sanitary processing facility. Properly selecting and using the right ools and equipment for each assigned task is essential to success,
as is ongoing care, cleaning and maintenance of those tools and
As the U.S.-exclusive Vikan® partner supplying color-coded tools
for the food processing industry, Remco Products is pleased to share
this guide to the proper selection, care and maintenance of food
contact tools and equipment. We’ll explain the best way to store and
clean food contact and hygienic cleaning tools and provide helpful
long-term maintenance tips.
Hygienic cleaning tools and methods safeguard people’s health and
safety. In many cases, hygienic cleaning is a necessary step to maintain
an efficient, clean and code-compliant processing facility—one that
controls internal hygiene, mitigates cross-contamination at every step
and documents the cleanliness of the process. Thus, it is important
that the proper tools, cleaning and storage methods, and maintenance
practices are utilized to assure the highest level of integrity.
It’s important to begin by choosing the proper tools for the
specific area or task. Remco and Vikan products are specifically
designed to meet the needs of food processing U.S. Food and Drug
Administration-compliant materials, featuring a smooth, ergonomic,
Proper storage in a clean, protected storage area ensures
good hygiene and helps extend tool life. A variety of wall brackets
are available to conveniently store brushes, squeegees, brooms,
dustpans and other food contact tools and equipment.
Extreme temperatures and/or humidity levels can affect the
life and lasting quality of the food contact tools and equipment.
Extremely cold temperatures can cause fracturing of tools and
possible physical hazards in a food facility. High-humidity areas
that do not allow for proper tool drying can support the growth
of microbial hazards. Multiple storage locations may be useful,
depending on whether the tool is needed during processing or only
during sanitation processes.
Removing the nutrients that bacteria need to grow and killing the
bacteria present on food contact surfaces are the fundamentals of
effectively cleaning food contact tools and equipment. The removal
of visible contamination such as food soils or loose debris is only the
first step. It’s critical that personnel understand that proper cleaning
is a process that must be followed, regardless of the time necessary.
Food contact equipment and
tools should be regularly maintained
according to industry standards. In most
cases, the cleaning method will be
determined by the area, the equipment
design, the facility environment, the
equipment’s zone in the facility (e.g.,
food contact or not), the target concerns
(e.g., pathogens and allergens) and
how often the equipment is cleaned.
Generally, guidelines call for the removal
of gross debris; tools should be rinsed
with water to remove any additional
loose debris and then washed in water
containing a detergent or chemical
deemed appropriate by the particular
industry’s standards. All contamination
should be removed until it is visibly clean.
This should be followed by a rinse that
removes any detergent/chemicals used.
Certain industries require sterilizing
or disinfecting of material handling
and cleaning tools. One option is
to use an autoclave, which works
with a combination of temperature,
pressure and time. Depending on
the food category and the particular
microbiological contaminants of concern,
different guidelines may apply as to the
proper combination of temperature,
pressure and time that should be
followed to ensure proper sterilization of
the tools and equipment.
Food companies will typically sanitize
their equipment and tools using chemical
sanitizers. A number of sanitizers are
popular with food processors, because
they do not require a rinse after
their application. Check industry and
chemical supplier recommendations for
more specific autoclave and chemical
guidelines based on your facilities’ needs.
Once a chemical has been added to a
cleaning process, its removal should
also be accounted for to ensure that the
chemical does not in any way come into
contact with food materials or becomes a
part of future food processing cycles.
Tool Life Span
Food contact tools and equipment
should be regularly inspected for damage
and replaced when there are excessive
abrasions or gouges, damaged bristles,
severe discoloration, staining or the tools
are worn to the point where they could
be a hazard to the user.
Selection, Care and Maintenance
Guide for Food Contact Tools