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Wipe It Good!

April 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 185

Everyone in foodservice has heard the term, "Clean as you go." Well, cleaning as you go is not so simple. Operators not only need to follow many FDA regulatory requirements but also must create a "culture of clean." Unfortunately, there is a perception of clean and that is where the problems start. Looking clean and actually meeting the requirements of clean may mean two different things.

With ware washing equipment, for example, it's all about meeting the final temperature requirement of 180°F as stated in the FDA code 4-502.111 for hot water sanitization. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. As stated in FDA code 4-501.110, mechanical ware washing equipment wash solution temperature can be:

(A) The temperature of the wash solution in spray type warewashers that use hot water to sanitize may not be less than:

(1) For a stationary rack, single temperature machine, 165°F.

(2) For a stationary rack, dual temperature machine, 150°F.

(3) For a single tank, conveyor, dual temperature machine, 160°F.

(4) For a multitank, conveyor, multi-temperature machine, 150°F.

(B) The temperature of the wash solution in spray-type warewashers that use chemicals to sanitize may not be less than 120°F.

There is a section on the Food Code titled "Cleanability" code 4-2-2.11. This code summarizes the basic understanding relating to a culture of clean. If a foodservice does not have the correct counters, fixtures, walls, ceiling, floors and equipment that support a safe, sustainable and easy to clean environment, the operation will be challenged. There will be hidden additional costs in labor that will need to be allocated for cleaning. There is the fatigue factor arising from managing the cleaning process and training. There is the potential of failing to meet regulatory requirements and facing state and local deficiencies, and, most concerning, potential food-borne illness outbreaks.

To create a culture of clean, operators must understand the cleaning flow process from clean to dirty and back to clean. Simply, there must be a separation of clean and dirty throughout any food handling process. At many operations, space is inadequate and many operators can attest that to keep an a space-challenged foodservice clean is a monumental challenge, and all it takes one employee not following the process to cause problems.

With budgets tight, facility cleaning can potentially be overlooked or not given the capital and operational dollars required to achieve the culture of clean. The reality is not allocating the necessary dollars at the beginning will eventually cost the operation later. It's each operator's call on when an operation will pay, but there is no doubt that failing to understand the importance of creating a culture of clean will cost in the long haul.

Many years ago, I worked with an amazing manager. She single-handedly created a culture of clean, by requiring all staff to get into character once punched in.. She would require all staff be in uniform, wear hairnets, have the appropriate PPE equipment and a sanitizer bucket for their workstations. She was remarkable and, although, she has retired, I think of her often and try to exude the same level of focus within my operations by creating a culture of clean. I still hear her saying in a loud voice "Clean as you go!"

Author's Bio Andrew Catalano residing in Maspeth, New York has worked in the food service industry for over 30 years working for private, corporate, and healthcare related food business. Andrew holds a Master degree in Strategic Management, which give him the refined skills to think through the problems, develop a vision, and plan next steps to improve the quality and value of the operation. Please join Andrew by visiting the online magazine called "The Schechter Report" where the theme of Andrew's Blog is based on the food industry through the eyes of the operator, appropriated titled the "Operators Perspective". Visit at

Source: EzineArticles
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