What is Sanitation?
Sanitation must be a top priority for food processing facilities, because it helps protect public health as well as preserve product quality. Countries and localities across the globe have a wide range of sanitary requirements for food processing plants.1 When facilities make a consistent effort to meet sanitation standards, it can improve their safety standards overall.2 A sanitation program can help facilities maintain proper cleanliness and adhere to safety regulations.
Since 2000, U.S. lawmakers have implemented several major regulations related to sanitation in food facilities.
Under the Sanitary Food Transportation Act of 2005, the FDA prescribes sanitary practices for food being transported by motor vehicle or rail.3 The Code of Federal Regulations says that foods should be stored and transported “under conditions that will protect food against physical, chemical, and microbial contamination as well as against deterioration of the food and the container.”4
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2011, also affects sanitation by focusing on preventing contamination, rather than responding to an existing contamination.5 As part of this law, food facilities that must register with section 415 of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act are generally required to comply with certain risk-based preventive controls and to follow Current Good Manufacturing Practices.6
Each facility’s sanitation program will look different, depending on the size and type of facility, as well as the regulations it must follow.
An effective program should include the following:
- Scheduled daily and periodic cleaning
- Written sanitation procedure to explain how sanitation tasks should be accomplished
- Training to help personnel understand the program and carry it out correctly
- Chemical use policy, and instructions for choosing and using cleaning chemicals properly
- Inspections to check on the cleaning
- Validation to demonstrate the program’s effectiveness
- AIB International. “Sanitation.” Food Safety and Sanitation, Chapter 1. Webinar. Accessed 11 Jan. 2018.
- Redemann, R. “Basic Elements of Effective Food Plant Cleaning and Sanitizing.” Food Safety Magazine. April/May 2005. https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/aprilmay-2005/basic-elements-of-effective-food-plant-cleaning-and-sanitizing/.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Sanitation & Transportation Guidance Documents & Regulatory Information.” Guidance & Regulation, 6 Dec. 2017. http://fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/SanitationTransportation/default.htm.
- U.S. Government Publishing Office. “Warehousing and Distribution.” 21 C.F.R. § 110.93 2017. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/CFR-2011-title21-vol2/CFR-2011-title21-vol2-sec110-93
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).” Guidance & Regulation, 4 Jan. 2018. https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/default.htm
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food.” FSMA Final Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food, 4 Jan. 2018. https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm334115.htm.
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