The trust of the public is not easily won. It only takes one mishap to earn a reputation of poor sanitary conditions in the area of food processing. There is probably no industry that is more watched and critiqued than food processing plants. One major challenge that continues to gain attention is the cleaning and disinfecting of all equipment that comes into contact with food. Not only does the government make demands of strict regulations, but plan management on cleanliness is required to guarantee that there are no mistakes. Cleaning versus Disinfection Cleaning can be accomplished without disinfection and vice versa. Cleaning refers to the removal of dirt and soil from surfaces. Disinfecting is the act of identifying, breaking down, and eliminating germs that linger. In food processing plants, the mere identification of microorganisms is the first step in decontamination. For example, fatty soils require a different type of disinfecting product ingredient than that of carbohydrate-based soils. Cleaning Application Issues Being familiar with the application process of using different types of cleaning products plays a role in preparing surfaces for disinfecting. Temperature, hardness of water, required mixture, and harmful residue, are considerations that have to be weighed in each environment of cleaning. For instance, if there is an over-abundance of lime in the water, a layer of scrum can form on the surface, creating new problems when it is time to disinfect. The recommended concentration of detergent is also important in removing as much soil as possible. Trouble Signs to Look for in Disinfecting Disinfecting is needed after cleaning to bring surfaces up to sanitary standards. Many signs of trouble can be noticed with the naked eye that creates a second round of cleaning, or to change the structure of the disinfecting method. For instance, beaded up water shows the existence of soil. Dried detergents indicate that either lime from the water, or that too high of a detergent concentration has been used. Locations where extreme disinfecting is necessary, are known to use a dye method that clearly shows up starch and protein. Critical areas of sanitation control can also use devices for measuring adenosine triphosphate levels, the most confident way of detecting organic materials. Plan Management and Basic Principles of Cleaning There is always room for improvement when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting. However, when your reputation is on the line, implementing an efficient plan and training employees on the basic principles of cleaning, should be a priority. Not only will your plant become a place of high standards, but the entire workforce will begin to take pride in their work and surroundings. Plan inspections, provide sufficient time, and offer courses on how to effectively keep equipment and surfaces sanitary.