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Positive Activities for Young People Team Leader, Luton Borough Council
Food Safety Consultancy
Visually clean does not mean clean
I have lost count of the number of times I seen people clean food preparation and hand contact surfaces with lukewarm soapy water. Or I have seen people spray sanitiser on visually soiled surfaces. Yes the end result looks clean, but you will not have killed off any remaining bacteria on the surface and more importantly you will not have removed all of the microscopic food stuffs that bacteria can live off.
Food operators know that cleanliness is essential in all food preparation areas if safe high quality food is going to be produced. But how do you know for sure that you’re cleaning regime is effective? How do you know at a microscopic level that all soils have been removed and that invisible microorganisms that could cause spoilage or illness have been eliminated?
There really is a big difference between “visually clean” and “microbiologically clean”
Food Safety Specialists at RSA Environmental Health are available to answer your questions and help you initiate a process to verify the effectiveness of your cleaning programs.
At RSA Environmental Health we verify cleaning programs effectiveness by using:
ATP bioluminescent monitoring after cleaning to detect remaining food debris; followed by,
Microbial monitoring after sanitizer application to confirm that no viable bacteria remain.
Both techniques are provided either as a one off check or as part of our advisor service program. Note: product testing is not part of the program.
What is ATP Bioluminescence?
ATP bioluminescence is a quick test for determining the relative cleanliness of a surface. ATP is a substance found in all living cells, including food, bacteria, yeast and mould cells. This test uses a device called a luminometer to measure the combined total of organic material (food residues and microbial populations) collected from a swabbed surface.
High values are indicative of high levels of surface organic matter resulting from inappropriate cleaning practices.
ATP bioluminescence results are obtained within seconds. If the reading indicates that a surface is not clean, re-cleaning procedures can be initiated immediately to correct the unhygienic condition.
Microbial monitoring complements ATP bioluminescence. While a clean surface generally is an indicator of low microbial levels, it is not a guarantee that the area is microbiologically clean. To determine microbial types and/or populations, microbiological analysis of surface areas can also be undertaken.
When Unsanitary Conditions are found
Where unsanitary conditions are identified as a result of ATP bioluminescence or microbial testing, our food safety specialist will either demonstrate or suggest corrective actions appropriate to your operation.
For more information regarding participation in RSA Environmental Health cleanliness verification program please contact, Kae or Carol on 01933 626444
Anthony Bowmer, March 2012
Why use RSA for Food Safety?
RSA Food Safety has been operating since 1997, providing food safety advice to businesses of all types and sizes, from large hotels to small coffee shops and from food manufacturers to cruise ships. We are experienced across all sectors. We only use fully qualified and experienced Environmental Health Practitioners and Food Safety Consultants to provide you with the best advice available. In addition, because our services are tailored to exactly match what you require, we ensure that we are as cost-effective as possible.
Join our Advisor Service for quick, cost-effective, 'special client' status