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Amit Kheradia
Amit Kheradia
Education and Technical Support Manager

ABC’s of Manual Cleaning Part V: Who is Responsible for Manual Cleaning?

Part four of our manual cleaning Blog series covered critical locations and the frequency of manual cleaning in those areas. In part five, we are going to briefly focus on understanding the relevant departments involved during the cleaning and sanitation process within a food facility.

Not a one-person job

Developing, implementing, and maintaining cleaning programs within a food plant is no mean feat. Such an important activity cannot be left solely to the facility sanitation manager, it requires close and coordinated collaboration between many departments: Food safety and quality assurance; production; maintenance; and purchasing; to mention but a few. It also involves the appropriate scheduling of tasks and careful selection, use and maintenance of cleaning equipment, methods, and chemicals.

Parts of the cleaning and sanitation programme can be outsourced to third-party contractors, who may perform third shift or after-hours sanitation, and are therefore considered part of the food safety and sanitation team. Valuable input or feedback from regulatory inspectors; certification auditors; suppliers of cleaning tools, equipment, and chemicals; subject matter experts; and even customers, are also an essential part of a successful program. Furthermore, the intricacies of a robust cleaning program will depend on what is required to ensure that food products are free from disease-causing organisms and other contaminants that significantly impact on food safety and quality.

Accounting for manual cleaning responsibilities

Defining, implementing, and maintaining a Master Cleaning Schedule can be an intensive exercise.
If we look at the Master Cleaning Schedule shown below, it requires additional independent and trained personnel to develop the programs; monitor the progress; and verify or audit the process, and requires that responsibility for each of these be allocated, along with documented proof that these actions happened.

Toward a Hygiene and Sanitation Culture

The entire organisation, from senior management to factory employee, needs to be committed to the production of safe food under sanitary conditions. In this respect, cleaning comprises an important component of the food safety and quality management system.

Food Safety Culture is about creating a behavior-based food safety management system.” (Yiannas, FDA). Hence, an all-inclusive integrated sanitation approach (as we’ll discuss in Part 6 of this Blog series) should be a key aspect of the site’s education and training programs, and should be seamlessly embedded into the overall organisational culture.

Some ways of improving hygiene and sanitation culture when using manual cleaning tools may be as follows:

  • Use of food contact-compliant, colour-coded, hygienically designed, durable, and high-quality cleaning tools.
  • Education and training of employees on the why, what, where, when, how of food safety and on the appropriate selection, use, cleaning, storage, and maintenance of manual cleaning tools.
  • Motivation of employees through transformational leadership and learning opportunities.

What’s Next

In our next and final Blog in this series, we’ll help you to understand the key regulations, standards, and industry best practices that support a manual cleaning program in a food facility.


Selected References:

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