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Cleaning and Sanitizing for Food Safety


Smokehowze
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Cleaning and Sanitizing for Food Safety

 

I am a believer in proper cleaning and sanitizing before, during and after food prep especially in my sausage making and charcuterie.  Including frequent hand washing (seems more like constant hand washing making sausage), use of gloves, and proper sanitizing steps.

 

While this food safety topic sounds simple, it deserves more than a cursory level of attention. It never pays to take food safety lightly and this is one area that is easy to neglect, overlook  or become complacent about or think that soap and hot water is all that is needed – it’s not for many of our cooking activities - so the sanitizing part becomes important.

 

I thought I would share some of the products I use for sanitizing in this regard - with a focus on commercial purpose made products.

 

The Basics

This is a good article that outlines the key aspects of cleaning and sanitizing for food safety.  http://www.foodsafetysite.com/resources/pdfs/EnglishServSafe/ENGSection11Cleaning.pdf   And another one here with more science aspects: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FS/FS07700.pdf

 

And finally if you want to really be immersed in the overall topic of food safety, there is a 6 part You Tube series that is a course. Look for the Series titled  "State-of-the-art Food Safety Training" at http://www.efoodhandlers.com/

 

Now, moving on to some sanitizer info...

 

Chlorine Bleach

This is the old and effective standby.  Always handy to have around. Good info here on using bleach as a sanitizer for food safety:  http://ucfoodsafety.ucdavis.edu/files/26437.pdf 

 

Edit:  As always, heed the admonition to not mix bleach with other products lest chlorine gas be released in a reaction. This directly applies to bleach and the purpose made commercial sanitizers (such as Star San) where it is specifically called out as a "Do Not Mix with Chlorinated Cleaning Products".  From a science perspective, mixing a hypochlorite bleach with an acid (which is in the make-up of many sanitizers) can liberate the chlorine gas.

 

Of course, while bleach is good there are reasons to look at other sanitizing products. Here is  an approach we employ in the Smokehowze household:

 

Some Commercial  Purpose Made Sanitizer Products

I (and the family now)  use the Star San sanitizer concentrate (https://www.amazon.com/Star-San/dp/B01N592OM6) mixed in a foaming spray bottle  (0.74 ml in 16 oz water  -  1/8 tsp is 0.61 ml  - so 1/8 tsp and a few drops more or use a 1 ml syringe or dropper).  Pay attention to the shelf life aspects after mixing up a batch if you use the typical tap water – 1 to 2 weeks depending on your water.   With distilled water it supposedly keeps its sanitizing potency after mixing for a long long time (months).   It’s great to rinse dishes, utensils, prep tools or bottles and jars that need sanitizing – as well as to spray on equipment.  Beer making folks like this sanitizer.   More info here:  http://www.fivestarchemicals.com/wp-content/uploads/StarSanTech-HB2.pdf 

 

We have also tried and now keep on hand a bottle of the Betco Sanibet RTU (ready to use commercial spray sanitizer) http://www.betco.com/search?indexCatalogue=searchindex&searchQuery=sanibet+rtu&wordsMode=0 ) which I have bought at Restaurant Depot by the bottle (~ $2.40 as I recall) - also available on Amazon and Office Depot in case lots.  It is also odorless.  No mixing required. Comes in a spray bottle.  Good product and seems to have a longer shelf life. 

 

There are others that are available besides these – but I have not used them.

 

Consumer Focused Convenience Disinfecting Wipes

Then there are the pull-up disinfecting (not baby) wipes.  Like these Clorox pull-up wipes ( these https://www.clorox.com/products/clorox-disinfecting-wipes/?gclid=COOc4oCVk9ECFVgvgQodUgADeQ) or equivalent (Lysol and store brands, for example) which are available at Sam’s and Costco and elsewhere in multi packs – often on sale.  Look carefully at the labels on “store brands” to ensure the right level of ingredients.  Good to have these around as part of the tool kit.  Convenient for sure.  But one needs to  be cognizant of the various fragrances they all seems to add to their wipes products.  

 

My Approach

When not using bleach in its many ways (including in food safety), I now prefer and have gravitated to, using the commercial santizers and the disinfecting wipes in differing situations. The commercial sanitizers and the wipes are in the cabinet under the sink in the kitchen for easy use.  Most of the time we just keep the spray bottle out on the counter.  

 

The Star San and Betco Sanibet are odorless and as far as I can tell in my purchasing searches all the consumer pull-up wipe brands have some fragrance in them.   Why can’t they sell a wipe version with no fragrance?…argghhh!  Dumb!  

 

My preference is Star San for making up  a rinsing mix when I need more than just a small amount like for jars and bottles and such.  I use the Star San mix in a spray bottle or the Sanibet RTU for use on the direct cooking surfaces such as cutting boards and on my meat grinder, slicer machine, prep tools, etc or even my hands or nitrile gloves and counter tops and such where I prefer not to have any potential lingering fragrance impact like in the wipes.   I reserve the wipes for quick counter top, sink or general sanitizing during and after raw food prep.  

 

I urge you (and your family) to consider both cleaning and sanitizing in your cooking activities.  It seems in today’s food world there are a lot of new variables one did not need to be as concerned about (or to the same degree) in the past as there is today.

 

Cook safe, my friends!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm usually the cleaning lady after ckreef preps any meats. I always use a good sanitizer. I used to watch this British show.. Trying to remember the name but anyway.. They would help people who had really really dirty homes and they would go in there and get samples of there kitchen surfaces.. Some had some dangerous germs.. It showed me cant clean to much.. Cause them germs woul make you deathly sick or death. Scary. 

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  • 4 months later...
  • 1 year later...

Nice post. I keep bottle of Steramine tablets under the sink. One tablet into a gallon of distilled water. Decant into spray bottle for sanitizing surfaces. Added bonus is that Steramine solution is recommended to SCUBA line sanitation so I also use it on my CPAP hoses, masks, and humidifiers.

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  • 5 months later...
  • 1 month later...

I use an Akorn, Jr. kamado, and I admit to having "one little personal idiosyncrasy."  :)  Next morning, I'm gonna completely clean the grill with soap and water, inside and out, until it looks just as clean as the day I bought it.  (The only exception is the cast-iron grate, on which I do not use soap, treating it just as I do my cast-iron skillets.)  The ash tray is turned upside-down beneath the body of the grill if I leave it outside, propped-up by a rock.  The top vent is left slightly open; sometimes I also prop the lid with a small stick.  After cleaning, the grill is allowed to dry thoroughly.  To this day, "it's as good as new."

 

In my past days in kitchens, "cross-contamination was drilled into me as a Mantra," and I guess I've never forgotten it.

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Years of homebrewing.. I have used a couple of sanitizers, it's key. Usually mixed up by the gallon. I keep some of those wipes in a plastic dispenser handy for countertops and sink . Particularly after chicken.  Lot's of hand and utensil washing. But I don't obsess over it. Just common sense practices.

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