E.coli, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Vibrio parahaemolyticus – they are all types of bacteria that no food safety officer wants to find when inspecting your food production plant.
Whilst sterile clothing and equipment are key in the food industry, boot washing stations allow all staff and visitors to sanitise their footwear – reducing the transfer of contamination into and out of the production areas.
In this article, you’ll find out what cross-contamination is and how a boot washer can help to prevent it.
What is cross-contamination?
Cross-contamination is the unintentional transfer of bacteria to food, and there are three main types:
Food-to-food – raw, undercooked, or improperly washed food can harbour bacteria which can be detrimental to health if consumed. Adding contaminated foods to non-contaminated foods allows bacteria to populate, but storing leftovers in the fridge for too long can also result in the spread of harmful bacteria.
Equipment-to-food – bacteria can survive on surfaces, such as countertops, utensils, chopping boards, containers, and other food manufacturing equipment for a long time. Hence, it’s important to wash all equipment thoroughly before and after use.
People-to-food – humans can easily transfer bacteria from their bodies or clothes to food during the preparation stages. All it takes is a person to cough or sneeze and to touch raw poultry. Wiping hands on a dirty apron and using equipment that’s laden with bacteria whilst cooking are also examples of people-to-food contamination.
Should contaminated food be consumed, there is a serious risk of food poisoning. Therefore, preventing cross-contamination is key in the food manufacturing industry. And that’s where a boot wash comes in handy…
The benefits of a boot washer
Help maintain strict hygiene controls
Many food production and processing facilities separate the various stages of food handling into different areas – keeping raw food away from packaged food.
A boot washing station ensures that contaminants, such as raw food on the floor, aren’t transferred into other areas via the soles of workers shoes or boots. Instead, staff can thoroughly clean their footwear when they enter and leave their work area, eliminating the risk of contamination from footwear-borne bacteria.
Straightforward to use
In the case of automatic models, all you need to do is place your foot on the brushes and push the button to activate the brush and spray jets. This will then mechanically remove the debris from the soles of your footwear whilst controlling the dosing of water and detergent.
Manual boot wash stations differ slightly as they have a foot-operated valve. There’s also a water-fed handheld boot brush that enables you to clean the tops and sides of your boots by hand.
Easy to maintain
Boot wash stations are an immensely popular choice for hygienic environments, such as hospitals, commercial kitchens, and food processing plants. This is not surprising as they are made from fully-welded 304-grade stainless steel that is rust, heat, and corrosion-resistant!
A stainless steel boot wash doesn’t require much upkeep either. In fact, a quick wipe down with a microfibre cloth, every so often, is all it takes to keep your equipment in tip-top condition whilst preventing the spread of bacteria.
There are numerous options when it comes to boot washers today – from basic manual stations to more sophisticated walk-through models.
As you’d expect, automatic boot washers tend to cost the most. But the truth is, implementing any type of boot wash at your food production facility is a sure-fire way to reduce the risk of cross-contamination – making it a worthwhile investment for the sake of your business AND your customers!
Invest in a boot washing station today
As a leading supplier and manufacturer of stainless steel equipment, Stainless Steel Manufacturing & Equipment (SSME) provide some of the most competitive prices for manual and automatic boot and sole washers.
If you’re unsure which type of boot wash station you need, or you have any questions, they can advise you on the most suitable one for your business – taking into account your budget, available space, and the size of your workforce.
To find out more or receive a quote for your ideal boot washing station, call 0121 661 6346 to speak with an expert at SSME.