Enviro Master Blog

Is Food Safety a Risk When Sanitizing?

If you own a restaurant, your food may be delicious, your décor amazing, and your service second-to-none, but if your dining room and kitchen aren’t clean, it won’t matter. Poor cleaning practices can lead to the spread of common bacteria like listeria and E. coli that can sicken or, in extreme cases, kill your customers.

Since the start of the pandemic, some people consider the act of simply dining out in public as a health risk. Patrons are now demanding that the restaurants they frequent are disinfected and sanitized to protect them against COVID-19.

The Difference Between Cleaning and Sanitizing

When food comes in contact with surfaces contaminated with germs, those germs can be transferred to the person consuming the food. These surfaces include counters, cutting boards, knives, and pots and pans. In order to help prevent the spread of germs, all these surfaces must both be cleaned and sanitized.

Cleaning is the act of removing dirt, debris, and grime from surfaces. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), sanitizing is lowering the levels of germs to a safe level as judged by public health standards, either by cleaning, i.e., removing them, or disinfecting, i.e., using chemicals to kill them. It’s important to clean a surface before you sanitize it, so the chemicals can better adhere to the surface and do their job.

How to Identify a Food-Safe Sanitizer

Since the start of the pandemic, people have been paying closer attention to the cleaning products they use to make sure they are strong enough to kill COVID-19. But, when you are cleaning around food, stronger, harsher chemicals aren’t always the best and can actually be dangerous.

Chemicals labeled as disinfectants are the most effective at killing germs, but they’re not approved for use in food contact areas. So, you will need to use sanitizers in your commercial kitchen. However, not all sanitizers are food-safe sanitizers.

Using a non-food-grade sanitizer in a food service area can make your customers sick. If these chemicals come in contact with food, they can cause nausea or vomiting. And if they are not applied properly, your employees can suffer eye and skin irritation or breathing problems.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food code identifies a few chemical sanitizers that are approved for food-contact surfaces, including chlorine, iodine, and quaternary ammonium. Quaternary ammonium compounds (also called quats or QACS) are substances that combine bacteria and virus-killing agents with detergents.

Sanitizers and disinfectants are, by definition, pesticides, and as such, are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.) The EPA has a searchable database of products that are effective at killing COVID-19, which specifies if the chemicals are safe for use around food. Before you buy cleaning products for your restaurant or commercial kitchen, you should search for them on the list.

Once you find a product that is safe to use in food service areas, you must make sure you use it correctly. It will most likely have to be diluted to a precise concentration. If you dilute it too much, it won’t be effective. But dilute it too little, and it can be hazardous. The EPA sets tolerance levels regarding how much pesticide can remain on food.

Turn to The Professionals at Enviro-Master

One way to make sure that every sanitizer used in your business has been guaranteed to be a food-safe sanitizer, and is applied correctly, is to hire professionals like Enviro-Master. Many restaurants employ our weekly one-of-a-kind electrostatic spraying service to make sure all surfaces in their business are sanitized. During the service, we apply a hospital-grade, yet food-safe, disinfectant, using a sprayer that gives the chemical a positive charge, allowing it to remain on surfaces longer.

Contact Enviro-Master Today

Besides electrostatic spraying, Enviro-Master also offers drain treatment services, tile and grout deep cleaning, and restroom hygiene services. Plus, we can provide refillable hand sanitizer stations for your customers and employees.

If you’d like the satisfaction that comes with making sure your business is professionally clean with the proper food-safe sanitizers, contact Enviro-Master today. One of our representatives will reach out to talk with you about your cleaning needs.

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