What is cross-contamination, and what role does cleanliness play?
Poor hygiene or cleanliness can be the cause of major food safety problems such as cross-contamination.
In this article, we will know in depth about the concept of cross-contamination, as well as the importance of hygiene and the use of machinery and cleaning products to guarantee good health in work areas.
What is cross-contamination?
Cross-contamination is the process in which some type of pathogen harmful to health, such as a bacterium or a virus, is transmitted to a portion of healthy and clean food. In this process, the food in question has been in contact and this has caused cross-contamination.
An important aspect is that cross-contamination not only occurs when a pathogen is transmitted to food, but it is also called the contact between food and its substances that are dangerous for a group of people . In this case, we would be talking about allergic foods, intolerances, and diseases such as celiac disease.
The different cross-contamination
Within the concept of cross-contamination, two types of contamination can be distinguished :
- direct cross contamination
- Indirect cross contamination
While direct cross-contamination refers to the fact that contaminated food has come into direct contact with another that is not and its contamination has occurred; indirect cross-contamination is when the transmission of the pathogen harmful to health does not occur in contact with foods but through some mediator. For example, a kitchen utensil or our own hands.
That is why it is not only necessary to consider contact between food but also to have a hygienic work environment and high safety and health standards to cut the cross-contamination process.
The importance of avoiding cross-contamination through cleaning
Cross-contamination is a danger to people’s hygiene and health.
As we have seen throughout this article, cleanliness and hygiene play a fundamental role in the process of cross-contamination. In fact, they are the key to avoiding this type of affectation in our kitchens.
Following a strict and hygienic work method when handling food, we will avoid dangers such as food-borne diseases. In addition, if someone does not do regular cleaning in our workspace, we will create a favorable climate for the proliferation of pathogens.
What kind of machinery and cleaning products can help us end cross-contamination?
Professional machinery and different chemical products or cleaning tools are essential tools in our sanitization process. Using the right ones can help us keep cross-contamination away.
Surfaces intended for food preparation must have special treatment. For this reason, at Smart Cleaning Solutions we recommend the use of injection-extraction machines, as well as the Smart Cleaning Solutions FOOD program.
Injection and extraction machines work by injecting a dense, sanitizing foam into surfaces and then rinsing it. This foam optimizes the cleaning and sanitizing of the chemical. Foam Rinse is an innovative, small-sized machines that can be a great solution in your kitchen.
Steam generators are of great help in removing food residues such as scale, oil, grease, etc. Its use also allows considerable savings in the consumption of water and detergents.
Scrubbers and pressure washers (add links) can also be useful to keep surfaces clean, as well as to remove traces of grease or any type of dirt.
As for chemical products, it is important to use products suitable for the food industry. In our catalog, you will find several surface cleaners with Registration, such as the Australia Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).
Finally, it is also convenient to use some cleaning tools such as cloths, scourers, fibers or disposable mops, among others. It is important to use color codes on these tools, which help to quickly and visually differentiate the tools belonging to each area, avoiding confusion and cases of cross-contamination. We also highlight our blue pulp, specially designed for the food sector.
Other guidelines to keep in mind to avoid cross-contamination
Besides using the proper machinery and cleaning products in your kitchen in order to avoid cross-contamination, it is essential to keep these basic guidelines in mind to maintain hygiene and sanitation when handling food:
- Maintain proper hand hygiene. Washing your hands is an essential gesture to avoid the transmission of viruses and bacteria. At Smart Cleaning Solutions we have soaps and gels that will help you maintain proper hand hygiene.
- Regularly and periodically clean the kitchen areas and all those in which food is processed.
- Monitor the cleanliness and hygiene of all machinery and cleaning products such as cloths or brushes so that they are not the cause of cross-contamination.
- Store food in separate containers and, if possible, hermetically closed them.
- Do not use the same kitchen utensil to treat all foods.
- If possible, use single-use or non-woven cleaning tools, as they are easy to wash.
- Have a cleaning protocol that meets the needs and particularities of your sector.
- Train employees in this protocol so that they can handle food correctly.
Cross-contamination in sectors
Although cleanliness and hygiene is essential in all businesses, there are several sectors in which it is important to place special emphasis on cleanliness, since they are more exposed to risks such as cross-contamination .
We refer to areas such as hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, the food industry, and all those whose activity is based on food handling. These sectors are the most affected by cross-contamination.
In short, these types of establishments must follow greater cleaning and hygiene guidelines in order to avoid the transmission of diseases between food. Something that would have a very negative impact on both the health and safety conditions of people, as well as the image and reputation of your business.
Learn more about cross contamination
At Smart Cleaning Solutions we are aware of the needs and particularities of the sectors in which food handling occurs. That is why we are at your disposal to advise you on the industrial cleaning and maintenance necessary for your case.