Management of cleaning operations

Even if all the basic precautions detailed above are observed, there is the fundamental problem of organisation and supervision of cleaning and factory housekeeping. This problem should be addressed under the TMQ and HACCP systems. Hygiene is everyone's responsibility.

It is wise to appoint a full time hygiene officer to oversee and organise all cleaning operations, but cleaning should be the responsibility of area production supervision. Operators should each clean their machinery regularly and at the end of production runs. Where necessary one or more full time cleaners should be appointed to work with these production workers. This arrangement instils an attitude of team responsibility in areas and prevents a careless worker shedding responsibility to others whom he may not know or see. The exceptions are for space cleaning of walls, overheads and some floors. These are probably best tackled by cleaning teams equipped with suitable mechanised equipment. The cleaning team should also be able to deal with emergencies such as large spillages, blocked drains or local floods.

Responsibility for the cleaning team is with the hygiene officer and he should also ensure that the outside areas of the factory - the yards, waste disposal containers and drains are properly maintained and cleaned. The hygiene officer should also understand the value of various detergents, insecticides and sterilising chemicals and be responsible for stocks and safe storage away from foods and wrapping materials. He should arrange cleaning schedules and techniques with the production management and ensure that cleaning equipment is adequate and in good condition.

The hygiene officer should liaise with specialist companies for the control or eradication of insects and rodents and it is wise for the company to have a rodent control contract with one such company so that appropriate baiting and infestation control techniques are advised and maintained.

Cleanliness and good housekeeping are the responsibility of all food factory staff, but the hygiene officer should be sufficiently qualified to understand the technical and micro-biological techniques to be employed and above all be a good and fastidious organiser. He should also maintain a close liaison with the Technical Department.

If staff, or their vehicles, making food ingredient deliveries to the factory, are not up to hygiene standards, a complaint to the supplier should be made at once in writing saying that future consignments will be rejected if attention is not paid to hygiene requirements.