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We've put together some general advice on food safety.


Updated: Aug 29, 2019

Effective cleaning is essential to get rid of harmful bacteria in your kitchen.

All food contact surfaces for example work surfaces, cutting boards, utensils and all hand contact surfaces for example doors, cupboard handles and taps, should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals to prevent the build-up of dirt and bacteria.

What chemical should you use?

It is important that you understand what chemicals should be used for cleaning and disinfection. You must ensure that the chemicals used are purchased from reputable suppliers and are always used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

As a general Guide:

  • Detergents are products used for general cleaning.  These do not have disinfectant properties and if used on their own, are not capable of destroying harmful bacteria such as E. coli O157.

  • Disinfectants are products that are capable of destroying harmful bacteria when applied to visibly clean surfaces at a specified dilution and contact time.

  • Sanitisers are products that combine a disinfectant and a detergent in a single product. 

This means that the same product can be used to provide a visibly clean surface and it must be used a second time in order to disinfect the surface

Two stage clean

Stage 1: General Cleaning Using a Detergent

Chemical cleaning involves the physical removal of visible dirt, food particles and debris from surfaces and equipment that come into contact with food, along with the removal of waste from areas where food processing occurs.  The detergents selected for use in each situation must be capable of removing all food debris solids and grease.  General cleaning should always be completed by rinsing to ensure thorough removal of all residues from the surface prior to stage 2

Stage 2: Disinfection

Disinfectants that have been proven capable of destroying disease-causing bacteria should be applied after general cleaning to reduce bacterial contamination.  Disinfection can only be successfully carried out on surfaces that have been thoroughly cleaned to remove grease and dirt, as the effectiveness of disinfection is reduced in the presence of dirt and grease.

Different types of disinfectants require different dilutions and contact times.  These are specified and validated by the manufacturer and you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution and contact time to ensure the product is effective.  Disinfection should be followed by a final rinse of the surface or equipment with potable water to remove any remaining chemical, unless it is formulated for use without a final rinse.

How you can keep track of cleaning

A cleaning schedule is a good way to make sure that surfaces and equipment are cleaned when they need to be. Work out what needs cleaning every day, or more than once a day, and what needs cleaning less frequently. Your schedule should show:

  • What needs to be cleaned

  • Who is responsible for doing the cleaning

  • How often it needs to be done

  • How the cleaning should be done

  • What to do if the person checking the cleaning finds something wrong

You could also prepare cleaning instructions for your staff showing:

  • What cleaning chemicals should be used.

  • How the chemicals should be used, including how much they should be diluted and how long they should be left on the surface, as recommended by the manufacturer

  • How the chemicals should be stored (in a special place away from food)

A member of staff should be made responsible for checking that cleaning is being done properly. Cleaning record sheets can help them record what they observe.



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