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Food businesses must maintain their premises and all equipment in a clean and sanitary condition in order to comply with the Food Standards Code. The standard of cleanliness expected must ensure there is no accumulation of food waste, dirt, grease or any other visible matter and applies to all parts of a food business inclusive of the fixtures, fittings and equipment, as well as those parts of vehicles that are used to transport food.

When handling food on or with dirty equipment, bacteria can be transferred to the food product. This has the potential to cause food poisoning. In order to help minimise the risk of food poisoning illnesses, all food premises must be kept in a clean condition.

Clean means ‘clean to touch’. There should be no accumulated dust, dirt or food particles on the surface, and no objectionable odour. Cleaning is the process of removing visible dirt or residual food matter. It may leave behind bacteria that are too small to be observed.

Sanitise means to apply heat and/or chemicals to a surface in order to reduce the number of bacteria. The number of bacteria on the surface must be reduced to a level that is safe for food contact. Sanitising is the process of using heat or chemicals to destroy any dangerous bacteria that may remain.

Cleaning and sanitising should usually be carried out as separate processes. A surface needs to be thoroughly cleaned before it is sanitised as a sanitiser will have a reduced effectiveness in the presence of food residue and detergent.

Cleaning and sanitising is a requirement of running a Food Business. An operator must be able demonstrate their knowledge of effective cleaning and sanitising and must be able to clearly demonstrate that the food business is being effectively cleaned and sanitised.  

It is recommended that all proprietors consider implementing a cleaning schedule to ensure that their food business maintains the standards of cleanliness required by the Code.