Every organisation operating in the food industry faces a great amount of responsibility. If errors occur within the manufacturing processes, food cultivation or production, the negative effects can be far reaching and devastating. This is often evidenced by incidences such as the listeria outbreak, pests being found in food, and general poor quality of produce once it reaches store shelves. How are these risks managed, and what steps can facility managers within the food industry take to ensure that their products are safe for consumption?

One of the biggest challenges for facility managers within the food industry is that demand and production are high, and many facilities feel the pressure of trying to keep up with what is needed. As a result, substandard cleaning practices are often unintentionally employed. In many such cases facility managers feel that they have facilities that are clean because they appear clean. However, as was explained by Dr Juno Thomas in a Times Live interview with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), not all disease threats are visible. A seemingly clean facility could still be a potential breeding ground for diseases such as listeria, “It can also ‘hide away’ in cracks or niches in factories,” explained Dr Thomas.

Photo of JJ CoetseeSo what practices should facility managers be employing to reduce these risks and ensure that their facilities truly are healthy ones? According to John J Coetzee, CEO at Green Worx Cleaning Solutions, in order to keep up with the demand and ensure that their facilities are properly looked after many facility managers opt for employing contract cleaners to manage their facilities. “Contract cleaners are a great option, however, if the correct contractors are not used employing their services can be very risky indeed.”

Coetzee went on to explain that it is important that facility managers vet their contract cleaners and make sure that they are using appropriate cleaning practices. Facility managers need to ensure that these contract cleaners are using eco-friendly and organic products. Not only are these products better for the environment as a whole and often more cost effective, but they also ensure that the facilities are not being exposed to harsh chemicals and pollutants (which could potentially make the environment even more hazardous for food and the subsequent health of those who consume it). Bio-enzymatic products are also proven to be more effective in eradicating harmful bacteria, by consuming them at the source.

Maintaining a clean and sanitary facility, and then having to manage the very contract cleaners hired to help lift that load, can feel like a double burden. Coetzee recommends that this is where professional cleaning consultants come in. “Not only do they assess the current state of the facility, they can also guide the facility managers towards an effective and manageable strategy for the cleaning and maintenance of the facility,” he concludes.

These cleaning consultants also have the expert industry knowledge required to help facility managers select contract cleaners who are cleaning with the most effective and eco-friendly processes and products.

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