Besides the reality that food safety is a global concern, food safety is a process that interlinks between the consumption of food and the wellness of consumers. Given the transnational nature that exists in the modern food business and its logistics, the issue of food safety has emerged as an important challenge all over the world. Many countries and their governments throughout the world are establishing new organizations, regulations, and procedures for regulating food safety, and there is a spike in spending in ensuring the prevention of possible hazards. The most significant difficulties facing the food sector at present are attempts to minimize spoilage of food products, cut down the cost of manufacturing foods, and reduce the risk of contamination. The pivotal role in this endeavor is cleaning and sanitation. 

Food sanitation refers to the execution of specific guidelines and instructions to hinder food contamination and maintain its safety for consumption. On the other hand, cleaning is a process of removing visible dirt by using water air, or other cleaning materials. Several jurisdictions around the world developed multiple food sanitation regulations. The routine of food sanitation is advised at every stage of the supply chain from workers in the field to the bearers in the restaurants. In the food sector, “food sanitation” often refers to the policies and practices used throughout food manufacturing, packing, transportation, and serving. The word “food hygiene” is frequently used at the level of the user to describe procedures intended to guarantee that food is free of contamination and safe for consumption. Food hygiene is a key component of all food safety requirements and is crucial to developing a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines in the food industry.

Contamination of Food: Risks and Prevention Strategies

According to WHO reports, around 600 million fall ill after having contaminated food and around 4,20,200 people die every year. Food contamination indicates various ways of food depravation through physical, chemical, or biological means in which microbial contamination is severe. Food contamination can happen at any stage of production, packing, or at the time of logistics. Food serves as the perfect source of sustenance for microbes and often has a pH value that is conducive to their growth. In industrial food processing and delivery, refrigeration represents one of the most effective ways to lessen the impacts of contamination. By controlling microbial proliferation, foodborne illness outbreaks can be prevented to some extent. The identification and remediation of contamination sources within a food manufacturing plant significantly impact the efficacy of sanitation management measures in a food facility.

Sanitation: A foundation for food safety

Systems for assuring food safety are based on the principles of good sanitation practices. Several foodborne outbreaks might be facilitated by unhygienic and unsanitary practices. Many significant food safety mishaps in recent years have garnered media attention and drawn spotlights on unhygienic practices across the board in the food sector. Since inspectors are employing the HACCP methodology to determine conformity, inspection is getting more demanding. Inspections based on HACCP put the emphasis on the components essential to food safety. Thus, it is crucial to have a good sanitation program. When sanitation is adequately applied in all food activities, foodborne diseases may be controlled. A good sanitation program can decrease the microbial count, which can enhance product quality and storage life, thus decreasing product wastage. All equipment in a food facility, including the heating, cooling, and refrigeration units, must be cleaned, and sanitized on a periodic basis as part of an efficient sanitation program. Effective cleaning and sanitation improves employee morale and also grows their trust in regulatory bodies.

Basics of cleaning and sanitation in Food industries

Cleaning and sanitation merge into a single idea or way of thinking when it comes to food safety. The difference between cleaning and disinfection is often overlooked. Effective disinfection could be challenging or impossible to accomplish without proper cleaning. A thorough cleaning process involves three parts such as cleaning with water or air or cleaning materials to remove unwanted substances, rinsing, and drying. Cleaners are specifically formulated to clean floors, walls, Clean in Place (CIP), or other uses. Cleaning compounds must be non-toxic, economical, and non-corrosive in nature. Depending on the spot and equipment that has to be cleaned, different cleaning compounds are needed. To create an effective cleaner, the choice of components for mixing requires specialized and technical understanding. The type of dirt to be cleaned, the properties of the water, the application technique, and the area and type of machinery to be cleaned are all important factors to take into account when choosing a cleaning compound. Most cleaning compounds used in food industries are classified as acid or alkaline-based. Different types of cleaners are tabulated below:

 Table 1: Different type of cleaners

Alkaline cleaning compounds

Acidic cleaning compounds

Strongly Alkaline Cleaners (Caustic soda)

Strongly Acid Cleaners (hydrochloric sulfamic, hydrofluoric, phosphoric and sulfuric, acids).

Heavy-Duty Alkaline Cleaners (sodium carbonate)

Mildly Acid Cleaners (hydroxyacetic, gluconic, acetic, and levulinic acids).

Mild Alkaline Cleaners (sodium bicarbonate, Tri sodium phosphates)


Chlorinated Alkaline Cleaners (Hypochlorites)


Fig 1: Other types of cleaners

Monitoring, verification, and validation of cleaning in food processing industries


Monitoring is defined as the real-time assessment and evaluation of a Sanitation Standard Operating Procedure (SSOP) implementation. This might involve readings from instruments, visual examinations, and watching operations being carried out. In case any procedure execution error is found then it will be fixed prior to production activities.


Verification is the procedure through which it is determined whether an SSOP has been functioning as intended. Inspection and tracking of cleaning success, criterion outcomes, preoperative test faults, monitoring of the environment, and consumer complaints associated with inadequate cleaning.


The concept of validation implies that the examination of SSOPs and making sure when it is followed can achieve the defined and mutually relied-on objectives of desired outcomes. The reproducibility of the SSOP and the consistency of the sanitation result should be the main considerations during validation. It should not serve as confirmation of a person’s accomplishments.

Establishing a cleaning and sanitation program

Prerequisite programs include sanitation, GMP, and other environmental and operational requirements that are necessary for producing safe, healthy food. These preparatory courses lay the groundwork for HACCP and are an essential part of an organization’s food safety assurance strategy. Thus, the implementation of fundamental hygienic practices serves as the starting point for the conceptualization and development of this comprehensive framework for a food firm. In order to safeguard the general public’s health and preserve a favorable reputation, the employer must adopt and uphold sanitary practices. It is undoubtedly difficult to create, put into practice, and sustain hygienic practices in the food sector. 

The person who is responsible for this crucial area must make sure that the sanitary procedures prevent minimal risk of potential hazards from developing into severe risks that might result in lethality. The sanitarian serves as the advisor on quality and safety concerns that are impacted by sanitary practices as well as the protector of public health. Ideally, a large-scale food industry has a separate food safety department with full-time sanitarian assistants. The management possesses a wide surveillance system for sanitary practices and the audit and inspection on these are critical. Adequate training and awareness about hygiene and sanitary practices have to be given to all the employees working in the facility.  

 Good Manufacturing Practices and Good Hygiene Practices

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) is a framework that guarantees the products made by diverse manufacturing firms are consistently made and regulated in accordance with predetermined quality standards. Firms that violate GMP regulations risk severe repercussions, including product recalls, seizures, fines, and incarceration. It handles a variety of areas, such as record-keeping, employee credentials, hygienic conditions, equipment validation, and the processing of complaints. The majority of GMP criteria are quite broad and undefined, enabling each producer to choose how to effectively apply the required controls. This offers a lot of freedom, but the manufacturer also has to comprehend the standards in a way that makes it acceptable for every individual firm. Infrastructure and cleanliness lay the groundwork for food safety. The maintenance and enhancement of quality and safety of food is a continual effort. If basic manufacturing measurements, production processes, storage, and packaging are carefully managed, it is possible to accomplish. The manufacturer is profoundly affected by food regulations.

 Fig 2: Benefits of GMP in a nutshell

 Role of HACCP in sanitization

HACCP is a methodical strategy that should be used in food manufacturing as a way to guarantee food safety. The fundamental ideas that guide the design of HACCP include a risk evaluation of potential intrinsic hazards from harvest through final consumption. Critical limitations that must be reached at each CCP, suitable monitoring practices, remedial measures to be performed if a deviation is found, keeping records requirements, and verification tasks must all be established. HACCP is preceded by sanitation SOPs. The purpose of a HACCP strategy is to guarantee safety at particular CCPs within particular procedures. Sanitation SOPs include a wide range of procedures. Sanitary SOPs are the foundation of a HACCP plan and can be used as a preventative measure against direct food adulteration and/or contamination.


All food production processes must include food sanitation as a fundamental yet crucial component. An efficient sanitation program has several components to keep a clean food manufacturing facility that is obvious to all employees. Proper awareness and training regarding cleaning and sanitation have to be given to the employees working in the firm. Proper monitoring of sanitation procedures and implementing corrective actions if required also enhance the efficiency of sanitation practices. Equipment used in the food facilities must be developed based on hygiene design and the efficiency of CIP should be monitored. All the cleaning materials should be kept in separate storage areas to avoid contamination with food. A food-safety culture that involves all personnel cooperating to meet consumer expectations includes an efficient sanitation program.


 Djukic, D., Moracanin, S. V., Milijasevic, M., Babic, J., Memisi, N., & Mandic, L. (2016). Food safety and food sanitation. Journal of Hygienic Engineering and Design14, 25-31.

 Marriott, N. G., Gravani, R. B., & Schilling, M. W. (2006). Principles of food sanitation (Vol. 413). New York: Springer.


Authors: Panoth Abhirami and N Venkatachalapathy