Cleaning Chemical Residues as a potential food chemical hazard – why it is important to follow the recommended instructions! By The Centre for Food Safety, Stellenbosch University

The Centre for Food Safety is a one-of-a-kind applied food science research consortium comprised of Stellenbosch University and the Food Industry. Our food safety team at Ecowize, participated in their chemical hazard series of articles.

Before any chemical can be used in the food and beverage industry, the chemical needs to be independently verified as fit for purpose and toxicologically safe for use in food processing facilities. This assessment is done by reviewing all information available including exposure to the product, biological interactions and toxicological data of every ingredient present in the product in combination with the usage directions of the manufacturer.

As cleaning is a function of time, temperature, agitation, and chemical concentration, it is essential that the correct parameters are followed in order to achieve the desired result. For this reason, the recommended dosage instructions are always included on the label as a guide for the safe and efficient use of the detergent.

Product label instructions should always be followed with regards to the specified concentration range, the removal of soil prior to application, application methods, contact times, rinse requirements etc. More information can also be found on the product specification or technical data sheets pertaining to the detergent’s suitability for different types of surfaces, effective temperature ranges, its specific microbial efficacy and shelf life.

During the cleaning process, direct food contact must be avoided, and food contact surfaces should be rinsed of excess chemical prior to commencing production to prevent potentially cross contaminating food products, which could be harmful to consumers.

Furthermore, chemicals should never be mixed. Not only is this dangerous but it could negatively affect product performance. Safety data sheets must be supplied with the chemicals as this contains important information on composition, stability, reactivity, toxicological information, storage & handling and personal protective equipment required.

Efficient and effective cleaning followed by sanitation and disinfection with approved and registered chemicals is an essential element in any food manufacturer’s food Safety management system. This is critical to reduce and control the risks associated with harmful microorganisms and traces of chemicals that can lead to illness in consumers.

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