Prevent Unwanted Pathogens In Your Bakeries Through Proper Disinfection
May 18, 2023
Food production facilities face common food challenges, and bakeries, much like restaurants, are required to adhere to food safety regulations to avoid these.
One of the most pressing challenges in bakeries is foodborne illnesses caused by baked products. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the common symptoms of foodborne diseases include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain, with an estimated 48 million getting sick, 128,000 getting hospitalized, and 3,000 people dying each year. The Center for Science and Public Interest, a Washington-based consumer advocacy organization, mentioned that bakery products were associated with 142 disease outbreaks and 2,822 illnesses from 2004 to 2013.
Foodborne illnesses are caused by microorganisms such as pathogens (bacteria, parasites, viruses, or fungi) that contaminate food products. Pathogens can make their way to your bakery whether it be through ingredients that come in or the personnel that handles them. Pathogens grow and reproduce quickly that’s why it’s important to eliminate their presence in the environment in which one works. Although thermal processing such as baking typically kills pathogens in food products, the effectiveness of this depends on the heat resistance of microorganisms present in the product. This is why proper bakery food safety procedures are important as they have the ability to minimize risks of bacterial, physical, and chemical contaminants found in finished products.
Here are the ways to prevent unwanted pathogens in your bakery:
Good Personal Hygiene
Proper cleaning and sanitizing protocols help avoid the spread of pathogens and foodborne illnesses, and it all starts with personal hygiene. All bakery personnel, especially those who come in close contact with food products, must always maintain a standard of cleanliness before handling them. Good personal hygiene practices include proper hand washing after dealing with raw ingredients and before handling ready-made food products, wearing clean clothes, and wearing a hair net at all times. This helps prevent cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria and pathogens that employees may carry with them into the baking environment.
Another way to carry out cleaning protocols is to clean and sanitize the work environment. Cleaning involves removing “soils” such as grease, dirt, and oils that can accommodate bacteria and prevent chemicals from sanitizing the surface.
After a thorough cleaning, sanitation is the next step. Sanitation, as opposed to mere cleaning, kills and reduces the spread of bacteria on surfaces.
Cleaning and Sanitizing all work surfaces and surrounding areas
All work surfaces and surrounding environments such as walls, floors, and tables, including machinery and equipment must be cleaned and then sanitized.
Regular cleaning and sanitizing, despite the cost and time it takes, can help prevent the growth and build-up of pathogens which in the long run may help your company save money by avoiding food contamination and product recalls.
In environments such as bakeries or food manufacturing facilities, it's best to use a food-safe cleaning agent that effectively cleans, disinfects, and sanitizes surfaces. Balancing the demands of production and sanitation is a common challenge in food processing environments. Moreover, facility managers should opt for a cleaning agent that cleans and disinfects in less time. For instance, while initially developed for the military, Decon7 is integrated into industries ranging from food and biosecurity to hospitality. It's low-toxic and corrosive, safe enough to clean food processing equipment and surfaces in food processing facilities.
While it can be costly to frequently clean and sanitize your work environment, it is not only important but necessary to avoid the spread of pathogens which results in foodborne illnesses that cause harm to consumers. Furthermore, cleaning and sanitizing protocols not only keep your consumers safe but it is also in your business's best interest to avoid product recalls and maintain a good reputation amongst consumers.