In all the production sectors of the agri-food system, the importance of food hygiene and the cleanliness of environments and equipment is fundamental to ensure safe products. It can happen that impurities and contaminants are transferred from one production batch to another and that micro-organisms and residues of cleaning agents can contaminate surfaces and therefore, through contact, food.
We discussed this topic with Marzia Arborea of Agro.Biolab Laboratory, a company specialising in chemical and microbiological analyses for quality control and food safety, which are at the heart of every production, processing and storage facility.
"The problem with regard to hygiene in agri-food companies is much more complex than it may seem. The regulations and laws referring to the agri-food sector use the term with the term, sanitation. It is clear that this term implies different concepts of cleaning, starting from physical cleaning of food residues, insects and foreign bodies, to chemical cleaning of any trace of substances such as, for example, the possible presence of residues of pesticides, heavy metals, detergents and pest control products. To these it is important to add the microbiological cleaning of pathogenic and other micro-organisms and allergen cleaning to prevent the contamination of equipment and lines used for the production of different food products," said Arborea.
The visual inspection alone is not a reliable indicator for verifying the success of cleaning processes. In companies, it is therefore necessary to verify and document the suitability of the sanitation procedures used, at appropriate times, with a planned and adequate analytical work schedule."
"The analysis can be carried out both on food and on surface swabs to validate the cleanliness of equipment and facilities. In order to control the risk of contamination introduced from elsewhere, we should also verify that personnel hygiene procedures are respected by analyzing hand swabs and clothing. For this purpose, the products to be analyzed, as well as the sampling spots and frequency of inspections, should be conveniently established by appropriate procedures in each company, based on a thorough knowledge of the processes and a careful analysis of the productions, frequencies and sanitization systems adopted.”
Agro.Biolab Laboratory is a qualified and accredited professional laboratory for carrying out the most appropriate tests to verify the effectiveness of the sanitation processes. The analytical services are combined with the best sampling methods and the most appropriate analyses, depending on the scope of the inspection.