In South Africa, HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) has become an essential component of most food handling operations and restaurants to improve and maintain food safety and hygiene practices. Cleaning and disinfection are at the centre of this, and any other food safety system, to control food hazards throughout the supply chain, from receiving and storing food, to preparation, cooking and serving it to customers.

While cleaning is often seen as a grudge task that adds no value to the end product – it’s important for anyone involved with the handling of food to understand the reasons behind ensuring high standards of cleanliness – not just for the safety of the customers who consume food products, but also for the employees themselves, and the company as a whole.

According to Safefood 360, some of these reasons include:

  • To reduce the risks from food hazards
  • To comply with local and international legislation
  • To meet specific customer requirements
  • To meet the requirements of global food safety standards (GFSI)
  • To maintain positive audit and inspection outcomes
  • To allow maximum productivity
  • To present a hygienic visual image
  • To promote safe working conditions for staff, contractors and visitors
  • To maintain product shelf-life
  • To avoid pest infestation

Food Safety & HACCP Audit

There are many audit templates available to assist commercial food processers and restaurant managers to ascertain whether internal food quality standards and hygiene practices are being followed.

Here, we’ve listed some of the critical points related to Cleaning, Sanitising & Hygiene to guide your cleaning policy and help you understand what is required from your cleaning service provider.

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Cleaning Audit Checklist

Equipment and work surfaces are clean: Ensure cleaning tasks are completed thoroughly on a regular basis as set out by the cleaning schedule, including cleaning in and around equipment, shelving and storage areas to remove, grime, grease and food residue; wiping down benches in between tasks and thoroughly at the end of shifts; ensuring that cutting boards are cleaned thoroughly.

Food production walls, ceilings and floors are clean: Walls and floors needs to be cleaning regularly to remove grease, dust, food splashes or spillages. Floor drains must be cleaning daily, ceiling and other fixtures must be cleaned whenever visible dirt appears, and floormats as well as doors and handles must be cleaned daily.

Surface (bench) sanitiser is available and in use: Ensure that approved dispensers are correctly labelled, fitted, refilled. Staff must use the surface sanitiser according to manufacturer guidelines in between jobs and after wiping down.

Kitchen back door and entrances are clean and well organised: Entry and exit doors must be kept clean and tidy and should never be obstructed in any way.

Chemical use and storage is appropriate: Only approved chemicals, may be used and should not be stored near food / food contact areas, in their correct containers with the correct labelling.

Refrigeration units are clean and in good condition: Fridge and freezer units must be cleaned thoroughly inside and out, including walls, floors and shelving. Any spillages or leaks must be cleaned immediately, and condenser units must be cleaned annually or when there is a build-up of dirt.

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Health & Hygiene Requirements 

Food businesses must:

  • Inform food handlers about their health and hygiene responsibilities
  • Make sure food handlers do not handle food if they are unwell with illnesses that can be passed on through food (e.g. gastro)
  • Provide sufficient hand washing facilities
  • Make sure food handlers on the premises do not contaminate food

Food handlers must:

  • Do everything they can to make sure they do not contaminate food
  • Wash their hands properly before handling food and whenever there might be risk of food contamination
  • Inform supervisors if they are suffering with any potentially infectious illness

Cleaning, sanitising and maintenance businesses must:

  • Make sure the food premises and vehicles are kept clean
  • Make sure that food contact surfaces, i.e. Chopping boards and preparation benches are cleaned and sanitised regularly or in between tasks (applies to eating and drinking utensils)
  • Make sure the premises, fittings and equipment is kept clean and in a state of good repair
  • Ensure that chipped, cracked or broken utensils are not used
  • Make sure that garbage is not left to build up and is removed regularly

BONUS: Animals & Pest Audit Checklist

Practicable measures to prevent harbourage and or eradicate pests (housekeeping, stock rotation, pest sighting documentation): Pest control devices must be in working order and in operation. Measures should be taken to ensure that pests cannot enter the premises (e.g. sealing gaps in walls, floors and around equipment), and anything that could harbour pests should be removed (e.g. excess cardboard, redundant equipment, food residue, etc.). Garbage bins must be cleaned after emptying daily.

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No signs of pest activity in area: There should be no sightings of pests, dead or alive and including droppings / casting. Any sightings should be documented.

Sources:

  • Safefood 360: Cleaning and Disinfection in Food Processing Operations (Whitepaper
  • iAuditor: Food Safety & HACCP Audit Checklist Template (The Star)