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Preventing cross-contamination in your food processing plant is vitally important for a number of reasons. Cross-contamination of allergens could be potentially fatal if consumed by someone with a food allergy. It may also cause food-borne illnesses to spread. The increase in dietary choices such as veganism is also essential to consider. If your business is found to have caused cross-contamination through poor practices, you then may face legal and reputational damage. 


How does cross-contamination occur? 

Cross contamination is one of the biggest issues in the food industry today. It can occur due to improper cleaning procedures, inadequate storage of raw materials, inappropriate handling of raw materials and the lack of adequate cleaning equipment. It may also occur when using the same equipment to process foods that contain different ingredients. 


Why is preventing cross-contamination important? 

There are a number of reasons why you should have processes in place to minimise cross-contamination in food manufacturing plants. These include: 

  • Allergies – The only way for people with a food allergy to manage their allergy is to completely avoid the allergen. As a food processing business, you must comply with the Australian Food Standards code, that governs production processes and product quality, including requirements around allergens.
  • Food-borne illnesses – Keeping a clean and hygienic facility is important for reducing food-borne illnesses, however should contaminated ingredients make their way into your facility, it is imperative to minimise cross-contamination in order to keep bacteria from spreading throughout the whole facility. Food poisoning that arises from an unhygienic facility can result in serious damage to your business, including loss of sales, damaged reputation, legal consequences and loss of trust. 
  • Dietary requirements – with an increase in specialised dietary requirements such as veganism, it is becoming increasingly important to minimise the cross-contamination between different product lines. 


How is cross-contamination prevented? 

The most effective way to prevent cross-contamination in a food manufacturing facility is by having a robust cleaning and hygiene process. Make sure you have a clear and documented cleaning process that is easily understood by your cleaning team.

To minimise the risk of cross-contamination, having clean facilities is paramount. This includes regularly cleaning floors, walls, equipment, utensils and surfaces. This should be completed using solutions and equipment specifically designed for food manufacturing use. You should have specific cleaning procedures for surfaces after processing foods that are high risk of cross-contamination such as raw meat, eggs, dairy, and fish. 

It is also important to ensure that your facility is sanitised. In order to ensure all areas are completely sanitised, cleaning must take place first. This includes all organic materials and debris such as food and meat scraps, which must be removed for effective sanitisation. Finally, all cleaning and sanitisation products and equipment should be free from undesirable microorganisms to be safe for use.


Are there any food standards that must be adhered to? 

While it’s important for your business reputation to ensure that your food manufacturing facility is hygienic, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand also have standards that must be adhered to for food manufacturing businesses, so it is important to ensure you are familiar with the standards that apply to your business. 

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) certification should be held by your cleaning team. It indicates that the business meets the high standards required in the food industry. HACCP certification ensures your cleaner is using methods and products deemed safe for use in food manufacturing facilities.


Orbit Cleaning Service Australia are commercial cleaners with over 30 years of industry experience. We take pride in our high-quality cleaning services, tailored specifically to the needs of our clients.

For more information about our food factory cleaning service, contact us on 1300 660 699.

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