Do you have cleaning schedules, cleaning records and a COSHH folder that is up to date?

This is the start of producing safe food, in my opinion. Without a clean food preparation area, you cannot prepare safe food.

 Did you know that you can measure whether a surface is clean quickly and safely? You can also measure it using microbiology. Both techniques use swabs, but the results from one takes minutes and the other takes 24 hours plus.

I have written about rapid techniques here. I also wrote part of a book published by 3M,for a free pdf copy click here

How do you measure cleaning?

Most small and micro businesses measure their cleaning by visual assessment. It is important that the cleaning is checked by someone else, who is independent, such as a supervisor. It is also important to record the cleaning has been done. Cleaning schedules will tell the person who is doing the cleaning how to do it and what to use. As the owner or manager of a business, it is your responsibility to ensure that the person handling the chemicals has been trained and knows any safety precautions to be taken. 

The HSE has a good template for COSHH assessments which can be found here, along with more information about COSHH.


Chemicals (for example washing-up liquid) used to remove food, fats and oils and dirt, in general. Detergents help cleanbut do not kill bacteria and viruses.


Chemicals that are bactericidal but do not clean. After surfaces are cleaned of food and dirt you can use a disinfectant. This will to kill bacteria, if used according tothe manufacturers’ instructions.Make sure that you use a food-safe disinfectant.


Sanitisers act as both a detergent and a disinfectant. Ensure that the sanitiser chosen is food safe and can be used with the equipment in your kitchen or production area. 

Clean as you go

This is an important habit to get into, as it saves time at the end of a shift and also removes possible food for pests, as well as a potential health and safety hazard.  

It is essential that hand and food contact surfaces are given priority in cleaning tasks, being cleaned more often and with greater diligence tahn areas such as extraction hoods which do not come into contact with food or hands. 

Cleaning schedules

These tell the operator what to use, as well as how to clean any given area or equipment. A cleaning schedule can also include health and safety information. An example is on the Food Standards website here. 


Guardian lite

About the author:

Louise is an experienced food safety professional, who has a passion for working with food business owners who want to grow their businesses. She has a wide network of contacts that you can access when you start to work with her. She works with a team of professionals who support Alimenti Food Sciences through their own specialisms. 

When not at her desk, Louise enjoys good coffee, food and wine with friends and family, as well as motorsport and rugby. Louise loves to share her knowledge on social media and in person. Connect with her through one or more of the channels below.


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