Cleaning validation in the food industry: Products and Procedures


Cleaning validation in the food industry: Products and Procedures

Cleaning validation in the food industry: Products and Procedures Industrial cleaning may need to be more demanding than normal cleaning, especiall

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Cleaning validation in the food industry: Products and Procedures

Industrial cleaning may need to be more demanding than normal cleaning, especially when it comes to cleaning in the food industry, which has always been in the spotlight, both for consumers and authorities. Food and beverage manufacturers have a legal obligation to guarantee consumers that the products they sell are safe. Therefore, the validation of cleaning protocols in the food industry is an essential requirement to avoid physical, biological, chemical, and allergenic risks of cross-contamination. This method validates and grants uniformity to the cleaning and disinfection procedures, ensuring their effectiveness.

Man washing machines at a factory Man washing machines at a factory with a hose industrial  cleaning stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

But do you know what cleaning validation in the food industry consists of? How to proceed its execution properly?

To understand it, we must first know how to differentiate two concepts: validation and verification.

The FDA published the Cleaning Process Validation Inspection Guide in 1993. Since then, validations have been much more controlled and supervised. The published are already numerous and are under constant review for their improvement and subsequent application in the industry. 

Companies that manufacture food products or handle food must be aware of the importance of having adequate cleaning validation in their industrial facilities. The lack of this can have great repercussions such as: economic sanctions by the regulatory authorities, contamination of the food handled, poisoning of customers, causing harm to employees, etc. 

Do you want to guarantee the security that your customers and employees deserve? Do not miss anything, below we clear all your doubts about the validation of cleaning in the food industry.

Difference between cleaning validation and cleaning verification

Verification refers to the methods or products used in cleaning that follow the established protocol, normally the instructions or indications are found in the product’s technical data sheets.

Therefore, verifying the cleaning protocols is mainly based on seeing that everything is being done accordingly. Validation refers to checking whether the methods or products used really achieve the aim that has been set.

In this regard, Food safety standards are one of the most important certificates in the world that demonstrate the hygienic quality of the equipment. This certificate is based on the verification of compliance with the requirements established by this organization.

The improvement of cleaning protocols is an aspect that is increasingly valued by industries since it provides obvious advantages related to the integrity and safety of products, together with environmental and economic benefits.

Procedure in the validation of cleaning in the food industry

Cleaning and disinfecting are two concepts that are commonly confused, but the reality is that they are two different processes. When we clean, dirt is removed and most germs are eliminated, while when disinfecting, specific cleaning solutions are used that eliminate any bacteria.

In the case of the food industry, it is very important to be clear about these two concepts and their functions to avoid taking unnecessary risks such as microorganisms and their toxins, cross-contamination, residues of cleaning and disinfectant agents, etc.

Disinfectants ensure bacteria do not infect food products. However, in this type of industry, special attention must be paid to the products used. It is mandatory to ensure that they are safe with food.

The validation of cleaning in the food industry involves evaluating certain processes, forms, and parameters, such as; time, temperature, type of cycles, cycle maintenance, detergents, disinfectants, etc. Below are the key steps to meet all these requirements.

Previous steps to follow in cleaning validation in the food industry

In order to achieve a correct and functional cleaning validation, attention must be paid to the following steps:

  • Cleaning processes.
  • Sampling procedures.
  • Analytical methods, including their sensitivity.

These procedures must be based on approved protocols and with documented results, otherwise, they would not be valid or effective. In the procedural documents, it is essential to reflect the following information:

  • Who carries out and approving the cleaning validation study, the criteria followed, and the periodicity of the validation?
  • Final validation report specifying if the cleaning validation has been approved or not. 
  • Conclusion with the data of the residues found, their percentage and level. 

In short, the cleanliness validation process in the food industry is not easy to achieve. There are multiple drawbacks that can be found, it also has a complex process and constant changes according to regulatory bodies. 


Phases of the cleaning validation process in the food industry

  1. The first step in the process is to determine the teams that will be involved in cleaning and sanitizing.
  2. Define the cleaning plan: Describe the chemical products to be used for cleaning and disinfection and their functions. Specifying the areas in which you are going to work and verify that all surfaces are washable.
  3. Perform cleaning: initially, the products and equipment are prepared to verify the integrity of the system. At the start of cleaning, a pre-rinse is carried out with pressurized water, followed by washing followed by rinsing to remove residual chemicals, disinfection, and finally, the final rinse (if necessary) which removes any residual disinfectant.
  4. Verify cleaning: a last inspection is carried out in which the results got are measured and it is verified if we meet the cleaning criteria.
  5. Cleaning Validation–A validation and verification report is developed that summarizes the protocols that have been followed to ensure that the procedures have been efficient, effective, and repeatable.

 If all these procedures are followed together with the previous ones mentioned above, the validation of cleaning in the food industry can be achieved successfully, but what team is qualified to carry out all this task?

A perfect idea to help companies in the food sector to carry out this task, safely and with efficiency so that the major production activity does not stop, is to have an expert in cleaning and disinfection of industrial areas. 

Do you know the work of Facility Services? They are experts in cleaning systems and tasks, offering audits and proposals for improvements adapted to the situation and explicit needs of the company in the food industry. 

Facility Service specializing in the industrial sector

SCS Group Integrated Services is a Facility Service specializing in the industrial sector and has the necessary experience to carry out the cleaning and disinfection validation of food industry environments.

The comprehensive service offer is perfect for this industry, since a single partner is in charge of all the necessary tasks on a day-to-day basis, while the production company focuses on its main activity. 

An advantage of Facility Services is their constant information and application of the new regulations in their processes, as well as continuous training so that their employees can carry out activities effectively and correctly. The all-in-one service allows companies in the industry to save production costs and delivery times. 

Our Industrial Cleaning service adapts to the needs and objectives of your company to guarantee the highest quality, efficiency, and productivity to generate hygienic and safe work environments for all your workers.