Cleaning and Sanitizing
Cleaning and sanitizing are important steps in all production systems. If done improperly, they can contaminate food.
This Good Agricultural Practice applies to:
What needs to be done
Properly clean and sanitize facilities, equipment, vehicles, washrooms and food contact surfaces where necessary to protect food from contamination.
How to do it
Identify what needs to be cleaned and sanitized
Develop written practice
Did you know?
You will find an example of a written practice in the Training and Support Tools section (refer to Sample E).
Choose the right cleaning and sanitizing products
Adapted from: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (www.fao.org).
Use cleaning and sanitizing products properly
Biofilms are formed by bacteria that have adhered to a surface that is usually exposed to water and/or organic materials. They are typically found in pipes and places where there is a flow of any type of liquid. Bacteria can break off from the biofilm and contaminate food.
Cleaning agents and sanitizers will help prevent biofilms from forming in the production environment, but they may be ineffective against existing or mature biofilms. Once established, biofilms are very difficult to remove due to the hardened outside layer that protects the bacteria underneath from harsh chemicals.
If you suspect a biofilm may be starting to form or has already formed on equipment that comes into contact with food, call your chemical or equipment supplier for instructions on how to best clean the affected area with the right chemical and procedures.
Terms used in this Good Agricultural Practice
Cleaning: The removal of dirt, dust, manure and chemical residues from surfaces.
Sanitizing: A process whereby a clean surface is coated with an approved chemical solution/water mix to kill or reduce pathogens.
Records to keep
Keep your own record that includes:
Did you know?
Water troughs for livestock can become contaminated with biological agents such as E. coli from droppings of birds, wildlife and other livestock. They should be drained and cleaned at regular intervals.
Did you know?
The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has developed a series of resources on safe food handling tips for farmers' markets. For cleaning surfaces, they recommend 5 mL (1 tsp) of household bleach (5%) in 1 litre of water.
If you need an audit
Be prepared for the auditor to:
Laws and regulations that apply
There are few laws that impact on food safety requiring cleaning and sanitation in agricultural production. Generally, these requirements are laid out in laws regarding the processing of meat, fish and other food products, which are outside the scope of this document. Laws that require sanitizing (e.g. for used containers) related to disease management for plants or bees that are unrelated to food safety are also outside the scope of this document.
The Milk Act, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 761, s. 8 requires that animals shall be clean and the udder shall be cleaned immediately before the time of each milking. Hairs on udders, flanks and tails shall be kept short. Milking equipment or utensils must be thoroughly cleaned after each milking; sanitized before each milking; and stored on clean racks (s. 13 (1))."Sanitize" is defined as treating a surface that comes into contact with milk with heat or approved chemicals capable of destroying any micro-organisms that may be adhering to the surface.
The Milk Act, R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 761 specifies cleaning and sanitation for the horizontal agitator (s. 29); compressed air (s. 30(1) (2)); the bulk tank (s. 31); pipelines, dumping stations, farm bulk tanks or inflations that are cleaned and sanitized in place (s. 32 (1)); detergents, wetting agents and sanitizing agents (s. 32 (4)); automatic pipeline cleaners (s. 32(7)); and vacuum lines (s. 34). Procedures must be posted, including the analysis of the water regularly used in the washing of the bulk tank; quantities of washing compound and water; maximum and minimum water temperatures; length of time; quantities of sanitizer and water used in the sanitizing cycle; and the manufacturer's names for compounds used (s. 32 (2)). If an acidified wash or rinse is used, there must be a posting on the wall in the milkhouse (s.32 (3)). Producers may be requested to disassemble equipment for visual inspection in the presence of a field person (s. 33).
The Farm Products Grades and Sales Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. F. 8, s. 2 (1) 12 provides that the Minister may make regulations about the cleanliness and sanitation of premises in which a farm product is stored, processed, graded, packed, sold or offered for sale. R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 384 - Honey, s. 20 requires that the equipment, appliances and facilities in an establishment be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition. There are cleanliness standards with respect to a variety of fruit and vegetables in R.R.O. 1990, Reg. 378 - Fruit and Vegetables.
Canada Agricultural Products Act, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Regulations (C.R.C., c. 285) Part I.1 s. 3.1 (4) (d) states the produce is handled with equipment that is cleaned regularly.
Calculating Parts Per Million (PPM) Solutions from a Concentrated Liquid
Example: How much concentrated chlorine solution needs to be added if you require a 125 ppm chlorine solution in one thousand litres of water (264 US gallons)? The bottle's label indicates it is 12% sodium hypochlorite solution.
A (ppm solution needed) X B (amount of water in litres / D (% chemical in original bottle x 10,000) = C (amount of chemical in litres)
A = 125 ppm
B = 1,000 litres
D = 12% x 10,000
The calculation would be
125 x 1,000 = amount of chemical needed in litres
12 x 10,000
The answer: 1.04 L of 12% chlorine solution added to 1,000 L of water will create a 125 ppm solution.
1 mg = 1 mL of water
1 kg = 1,000 mg
1 L = 1,000 mL
1 cup = 250 mL
1 tbsp = 15 mL
1 tsp = 5 mL
1 pound = 0.45 kg
1 US gallon = 3.79 litres
Parts per million (ppm)
1 ppm = 1 mg/litre of water
1 ppm = 1 mg/kg
1 ppm can be compared to:
Resources for you
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