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Deep cleaning tips for safer production

17 July 2020

With many companies in the food and beverage industry implementing new Covid-19 pandemic measures, plant cleaning and disinfection protocols are coming under even more intense scrutiny, says Diversey. 

The pandemic has raised further awareness of hygiene practices and the need for an even safer working environment for employees as part of the ‘new normal’  in a sector that is often having to maintain production with fewer employees and increased absence due to infection and self-isolation.  

A persistent threat
Preparing all production and staff amenity areas for safer working requires a vigorous program of deep cleaning. This is underlined by a recent study that SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes Covid-19 – remains detectable in the air for three hours and can live on surfaces up to several days (https://hub.jhu.edu/2020/03/20/sars-cov-2-survive-on-surfaces). The virus remains viable on everyday production and packaging surfaces, including: for 72 hours on plastics, 48-hours on stainless steel, 24-hours on cardboard and for four hours on copper.

Dealing with a positive test
The widespread presence of Covid-19 means it is very likely that a food company will have an employee testing positive at some point. Creating an emergency response protocol that is readily available will help to minimise downtime.

If the person testing positive has moved around, consider applying the deep cleaning reset protocol to the entire plant. However, if you know where the person has been, prioritise those areas first, and then continue with the rest of the facility. Manage anyone exposed to this employee by following World Health Organization (WHO) – or local government guidance – on isolation.

Key protection measure considerations for production areas include:

• Adopt and enforce the use of PPE, especially face masks for everyone.
• Minimise unnecessary traffic flow and employee contact.
• Undertake risk assessments on employee proximity and change to create social distancing.
• Erect physical partitions.
• Evaluate the removal of employees and reduced line speed.
• Evaluate mid-shift cleaning option.
• Enhance your captive uniform and footwear program.
• Ensure touchpoint disinfection protocol – amenity and non-production – every four hours.
• Introduce or maintain, hygiene entrance systems – including solutions for boot washing, hand sanitising - and consider door foam sanitisers.
• Ensure availability of detergent, disinfectant and equipment to complete regular and deep cleaning tasks.
• Apply GMP diligence across the plant and increased GMP compliance audits.
• Review the current WHO COVID-19 and food safety (interim) guidance for food businesses. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/331705
• Always wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for each deep cleaning stage.

Deep cleaning 
Production areas: Existing protocols should be adhered to, with enhanced cleaning and disinfection added in between shifts. Consider wet, dry and fogging procedures. 
Intake/dispatch and logistics facilities: A potential source of transfer in and out of the facility. Extend cleaning protocols to these areas focusing on key touchpoints to protect employees.

Non-production and amenity areas: Ensure frequent cleaning and disinfection of amenity areas to protect employees. Consider enhanced general cleaning and focus on disinfection of touch points. Guides for changing rooms, offices, canteens, kitchens and other areas are available.

Vehicles: These are often overlooked but should be incorporated into the enhanced cleaning and disinfection plan. Implement regular cleaning on vehicles entering your facility, focussing on touch points to protect your employees and the vehicle driver. 

For a full list of touchpoints and other essential information download the Diversey SARS-CoV-2 Deep Cleaning Guides. https://diversey.com/en/blog/deep-cleaning-reset-protocols-food-and-beverage-factories


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