Food manufacturing cleaning: best practices

In hospitality and food manufacturing environments, cleanliness is essential, especially in an era where traceability is coming under more scrutiny. However, many production floor managers and hospitality staff find it difficult to set up a cleaning process that is cost-effective, efficient, and gets the job done.

There are many cleaning challenges that face food and beverage manufacturers and processors, but there are also solutions that can make sure a factory is kept up to scratch in the cleanliness stakes.

Ensuring health and safety standards are met
When working with food, it is important to prioritise cleanliness and food safety at all times. Unlike some environments where it is possible to clean up at the start or end of the shift, a workspace needs to be clean and hygienic round the clock.

Different spaces that have different cleaning needs
It is important to realise that different spaces have different cleaning requirements, whether it is a large open floor area, small space with tight corners – or a mixture of both.

Plus, it might be necessary to deal with a range of floor types – from smooth-coated flooring and concrete to tiles (with or without grout), bricks, stone, slate, and more. This is an important consideration when choosing cleaning equipment and machinery.

Cleaning needs to happen during operating hours
Most food manufacturing and hospitality environments deal with long opening hours, continuous production, and even 24/7 service. That usually involves cleaning with customers and/or staff in the area. This means they need to carefully consider how they can make the area safe and minimise slippage/fall risks.

Many food manufacturers operate at a large scale with hundreds of staff. That can come with extra challenges – they’ll need to identify who is in charge of the cleaning, then ensure proper training, accountability, and machine care.

A lot of the time, the staff who are responsible for cleaning also have other responsibilities and demands on their time, such as serving customers or working on the production line.

They need to be able to work efficiently when cleaning so they can also keep on top of other areas.

Budget constraints
Most hospitality and food manufacturing organisations have a lot of expenses – rent, wages, materials, ingredients, suppliers, and equipment.

In some cases, it’s not an option to hire dedicated cleaning staff, or increase hours so existing staff can improve cleanliness.

Hospitality environment cleaning best practices and solutions
What’s the answer to the above challenges? Most of the time, it comes down to improving cleaning practices and using the best available technology.

The best cleaning technology
The best way to boost efficiency and effectiveness, and get a better clean done in the same amount of time (or less) is with better cleaning technology.

For example, a food production factory might replace its existing mop and bucket setup for a walk-behind scrubber.

That means they could potentially get a better job done in less time (meaning less wages to pay) with less chemicals and water (meaning improved safety).

Tracking technology

One way to improve accountability in large organisations is with smarter technology that tracks equipment operation, maintenance, and location.

With Tennant’s IRIS Asset Manager, you can see how a machines is being used, where they are located, and whether they are being properly maintained.

Cleanliness tests

Another way to improve food manufacturing cleanliness is with regular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) tests.

ATP is a type of molecule that exists in or around living cells, which (if present) can be an indicator of unsanitary or contaminated surfaces.

It is a good idea to conduct regular cleaning audits to ensure all surfaces are being properly cleaned and also try and identify areas that need improvement.

Safer methods

One of the biggest safety risks with regular cleaning (especially with staff/customers around) is slippery/wet floors. The best way to reduce this risk is to minimise slipping with methods that use less water and/or self-dry.

Tennant’s scrubber-dryers use minimal water and come with built-in drying mechanisms. Plus, users can choose the battery-operated version to remove the risk of tripping over cords.

Another benefit of reducing water usage in floor cleaning is users can avoid getting water or floor cleaning solution on surrounding equipment, which can be damaging.

Good operational procedures

A lot of cleaning challenges can be solved by reviewing operational procedures, including cleaning schedules.

Create a clear schedule that ensures everything is cleaned regularly and on time.

Create a checklist to ensure that the most important cleaning processes happen continually throughout the day, as needed, to keep operation lines safe and clean.

Better training

Help people know what to do and how to do it for a safer, more effective clean.

This goes with all cleaning processes, but especially cleaning equipment.

Tennant’s  touch screen ProPanel comes with built-in training features to help onboard a team and guide them through the steps to use and maintain your equipment.