When we think sanitation, we think cleanliness, and when we think cleanliness, we think about an effective
food safety program and the peace of mind that results from it. That's why food safety and cleanliness go hand
in hand. A clean area means an area with clean surfaces, clean air, and clean surrounding environments. One of
the definitions of "clean" is "free from dirt, filth, or impurities." And to make clean is to remove dirt,
filth, or unwanted substances.
In food plants, dirt, filth, and impurities refer to health-related extraneous materials that can be present in a food plant environment and on surfaces and that may contaminate food products and render those products unsafe for human consumption. These extraneous materials are classified under three different health hazard categories: physical, chemical, and biological contaminants. To prevent these extraneous materials from entering food products, the production team should first be provided with a clean and sanitary processing plant, a plant that contains the minimum amounts of extraneous materials and microbial contaminants. Also, some areas of the plant, such as the ready-to-eat (RTE) areas, should be free of particular microorganisms such as Listeria.
Providing the production team with a sanitary facility ensures peace of mind that the air, the walls, the floors, the drains, the belts, the coolers, the cooking kettles, and all other food contact and non-food contact surfaces, including the surrounding environment, will not contribute to food contamination. Their main efforts can then be focused on aspects of food safety related to preparing, cooking, packaging, storing, and shipping wholesome food products.