Pro Tip: Review the cleaning procedures, frequency and execution of these procedures to introduce corrective measures to contaminated product zones as soon as possible. 

Effective product zone cleaning is essential to prevent problems such as stored product insect development, filth fly development, and mold and pathogen growth in residues left on equipment. It is also required to remove allergen residues from equipment. Any of these conditions in the product zone means the product produced on such equipment is adulterated. Yet, equipment surfaces that are improperly cleaned are frequently written up on FDA Form 483 reports and in AIB International GMP inspections.

Because these findings are based on visual observations, facility personnel should have identified the issues. Review the cleaning procedures, frequency and/or execution of these procedures to introduce corrective measures as soon as possible.

Make sure that your pre-operational and changeover inspections are detailed and that the responsible personnel are properly trained in how to conduct these inspections. Provide a high-intensity flashlight to allow for thorough inspection of all parts of the equipment and product zone. Develop a corrective action plan if these inspections identify product residues and reclean the affected equipment before startup of production. Take a close look at your cleaning procedures, frequency and the effectiveness of execution to ensure that all product zone equipment and utensils are being cleaned effectively.

Implement any necessary changes to maintain product zones in a sanitary condition to help ensure the production of safe food. Failure to do so can put the health of your customers at risk and result in product recalls. Another consequence of failure is the damage to your company’s reputation. Take this opportunity to review how you handle product zone cleaning and pre-operational inspections in your facility.

Peg Ray is a senior manager at AIB International.