To prevent or significantly reduce cross-contamination within a food processing plant, proper selection, storage, and maintenance of cleaning tools is essential. Mike Dougherty, Perfex's Marketing and Quality Manager, explains the benefits and challenges of a color-coding system for food safety and sanitary compliance.

1 Why is color-coding especially important in food manufacturing?

When designed and utilized properly, a color-coding system is the first line of defense against bacteria, pathogens, allergens, and other foreign-material cross-contamination. With recalls on the rise, it's more important than ever for food processors to be on high alert for possible contamination areas.

2 How can color-coded cleaning tools promote the safety objectives of a food plant?

Food manufacturers strive to optimize productivity for maximum output but must also follow safety requirements and standards for compliance. Color-coding helps keep the workplace clean and orderly, making it easier for employees to do their jobs without wasting time or risking injury. Eliminate confusion by isolating tools to certain work areas with easy to identify color-zone separation.

3 What are the potential challenges of implementing a color-coded cleaning system?

An effective color-coding system requires companywide participation, if everyone isn’t all in, the results will reflect that. All employees need to be properly educated and trained to understand the coding of specific tools and procedures. Evaluate the program regularly to ensure compliance with food safety system requirements.

4 How do you reduce cross-contamination with proper cleaning tool maintenance and storage?

Hygienic cleaning tools should be cleaned before and after each use with frequency increasing between high-risk operations. Cleaned tools should be stored on racks or wall-mounted tool holders to provide sufficient space and time for drying. Proper brush storage will preserve quality, increase cleaning performance, and extend service life. Replace damaged or worn-out tools immediately to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

5 In what ways can Perfex assist food manufacturers in their safety and sanitation efforts?

Perfex provides a wide range of sanitation tools such as brooms, brushes, squeegees, scoops, scrapers, and shovels for cleaning food-contact and non-food contact surfaces. Our broom and brush products are hygienically designed to eliminate areas for contaminants to collect. Heat-fused brush fiber with smooth, one-piece construction contains no weak points, and most importantly, is easy to clean and maintain. Perfex can help you establish a color-coded cleaning system with the proper selection, storage, care, and maintenance of cleaning tools to prevent cross-contamination within your facility.