Hygiene guide in the food industry

Hygiene in the food industry is transversal to many aspects: from the personal hygiene of workers, through the storage of food to the detection of biofilms, among other things.

Hygiene in environments that work with food is directly related to people’s health.

The recent appearance of an outbreak of Listeria is a very illustrative example of this. And to avoid cases like this, it is essential to be aware of the dimensions acquired by hygiene in the food industry.

And, in addition to the surfaces on which food is handled, any other element such as, for example, the machinery used, the tools used for cleaning or the hands of the workers themselves become sources of potentially dangerous cross contamination.

Next, we will highlight the basic points of hygiene in the food industry.

Cross contamination, the main problem of the food industry

Biofilms, a great unknown danger in the food industry

Zoning zones by color to avoid cross contamination

Stop the proliferation of germs with good maintenance of the cleaning material

Personal hygiene also minimizes cross contamination

Guidelines for food handling in the food industry

Guidelines for food storage in the food industry

Waste management in the food industry

Essential products for hygiene in the food industry

Cross contamination, the main problem of the food industry

Cross contamination is defined as the transmission of germs or other microorganisms from one surface to another involuntarily.

This contamination can be direct, which is what occurs when we place a tray of meat in the refrigerator and this, by dripping contaminates another food, or indirectly, which is the one that occurs when the germs of a product are attached on a surface and, later, they are transferred to another food.

Cross-contamination is one of the main sources of origin of Foodborne Diseases and, almost certainly, the greatest fear in the food industry.

There are many ways to combat it, such as establishing a color code that differentiates spaces according to their activity or raw material, hand hygiene, etc.

Biofilms, a great unknown danger in the food industry

Biofilms are communities of germs attached to each other that live on some surfaces of the food industry thanks to the film they form to protect themselves from conventional cleaning and disinfection products.

By sharing and exchanging nutrients they expand very easily. They are just as dangerous for human health as other germs, but with the addition that they are very difficult to detect and are resistant to common disinfectants.

Biofilms can be formed by most bacteria, although it is more common for them to be formed by Pseudomonas, Listeria or Salmonella, among others.

Its detection and elimination must be carried out with specific products and, in most cases, enzymatic compositions.

Zoning zones by color to avoid cross contamination

Distinguishing each zone according to the activity or raw material and assigning a color to each of them helps to avoid cross contamination problems.

How? Through cutting boards or cleaning material, for example. If we use blue boards for meat and red boards for vegetables, we will prevent the remains of these materials from mixing with each other.

In addition, color-coded cleaning speeds up processes and reduces costs thanks to improved cleaning efficiency.

In order to establish any color code, it is important to keep in mind that the color of the tool or instrument is as different as possible from that of the waste to be removed or the material to be handled since, in this way, we will be able to detect if remains are left to the naked eye.

Stop the proliferation of germs with good maintenance of the cleaning material

The cleaning material can be a source of cross contamination, just as cleaning and disinfection can be ineffective if the surfaces are not subsequently dried.

The tools used for cleaning are constantly in contact with the waste and, if not properly sanitized, can contaminate the surfaces again. So, if the brushes or cloths are not clean, it is of little use to have color-coded cleaning.

For the cleaning and disinfection of this material we will use water and chlorine solutions and let it dry in a specific place for it. In this article we explain how to sanitize the cleaning material after use.