Empower Employees Through Training
Help reinforce good food safety practices in your establishment through stand-up meetings. Use this training outline as a guide for your next meeting. Cleaning and sanitizing a surface removes food particles, filth, and bacteria. Together, cleaning and sanitizing help prevent the spread of foodborne illness.
You may choose to read these learning objectives with your employees as a part of the stand-up training. After this training, employees should be able to:
- Explain how cleaning and sanitizing prevent cross-contamination
- Demonstrate effective cleaning and sanitizing
- Identify when surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized
- Demonstrate how to check sanitizer levels and prepare sanitizer
You may choose to read these facts with your employees as a part of the stand-up training.
- Cleaning means using soap and water to remove food particles, grease, and other grime.
- Sanitizing means using either chemicals or very hot water to kill pathogens that remain after cleaning.
- Water that is used as the final sanitizing rinse in a dishwashing machine must be 180°F (82°C) or hotter. Water that is used to sanitize items in a three-compartment sink must be 171°F (77°C) or hotter.
- Items that have been sanitized must be air-dried. Drying items with a cloth or paper towel could recontaminate them with pathogens.
- Food-contact surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized frequently to prevent foodborne illness.
- Bacteria can multiply to dangerous levels in four hours. Clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces after four hours after of continuous use.
Choose the activities that will be most beneficial for your employees. Modify them as needed to fit the training needs of your establishment.
The “Why” and “When” of Cleaning and Sanitizing
Read: Cleaning and sanitizing are like two sides to the same coin—they’re different, but they should always go together. Items must be cleaned before they can be sanitized, and they must be sanitized to be safe for use. Cleaning and sanitizing is critical to preventing foodborne illness because it prevents cross-contamination. Discuss: When should you clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces to prevent cross-contamination? Record: Write down your employees’ ideas. The list should include after working with raw meat, when switching from one food to another, when switching tasks, after taking a break, after four hours of constant use, and any time they think that food-contact surfaces have become contaminated. If your employees miss any of these, you can add them after watching the video.
The “How” of Cleaning in Place
Prepare: Think about items that your employees clean and sanitize frequently. If any of the equipment needs to be cleaned in place, write out each step of cleaning in place on a separate piece of paper.
Demonstrate: Show your employees how they should clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces. Point out items that are used to prepare meat or to prepare meals for customers with food allergies. Then move to stationary equipment and lay out the pieces of paper.
Discuss: What is the correct order of steps for cleaning in place?
Observe: Watch as employees arrange the pieces of paper in the proper order. If needed, ask questions to guide them towards the correct order (for example, “What would need to happen before that?”).
Display (optional): To remind employees how to clean and sanitize stationary equipment, print and hang the Cleaning in Place poster.
The Sink and the Sanitizer
Explain: Explain to employees how to drain and fill your three-compartment sinks. Give them guidelines for when they need to change the water in each compartment.
Observe: Ask a seasoned employee to explain and show how to clean and sanitize kitchenware while you and others watch. While they are at the cleaning compartment, emphasize that removing food particles is important because sanitizer won’t kill pathogens if grime is in the way. Remind employees to always air-dry items to prevent recontaminating them.
Examine: Look carefully at the sanitizer container with your employees.
Discuss: How long do items need to be submerged according to the sanitizer container? How do we mix batches of sanitizing solution in the first place?
Demonstrate: Refer to the directions on the sanitizer container as you show employees how to use the sanitizing solution. Show employees how to use test strips to check the chemical levels in the sanitizing solution.
Use these ideas to follow up with your employees and make sure that they’re cleaning and sanitizing correctly.
- Praise employees for thorough cleaning and for completing the process of sanitizing safely. If you notice employees who aren’t cleaning and sanitizing safely, give them clear instructions on what they should do differently.
- Train your supervisors to watch for unsafe cleaning and sanitizing so they can help correct food workers. Cleaning logs can help you monitor your employees and keep them accountable.
Make sure your shift managers and supervisors can answer questions that other employees may have about the cleaning and sanitizing process. Encourage employees to ask questions when they need help instead of guessing at the right answer.
As needed, review this training with your employees.
The video Frequently Clean and Sanitize Food Contact Surfaces lists specific times when surfaces must be cleaned and sanitized.
View the Spanish version of this video: Limpiar y Sanitizar con Frecuencia las Superficies de Contacto con los Alimentos.
The Cleaning in Place Poster can be used to remind food handlers how to safely clean equipment in place.
— Alyssa Erickson