To ensure that food manufacturing companies are following the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), they are required to implement Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOP), which are general document steps that must be followed to ensure adequate cleaning of product and non-product contact surfaces. These cleaning procedures must be detailed enough to make certain adulteration of products will not occur.
In order to create a safe environment for food, a food manufacturing plant but employ a cleaning procedure which including cleaning agents, sanitizers and cleaning steps. A cleaning procedure can be as simple a disinfection of walls, floors and equipment, or as complex like Clean in Place (CIP)* or Clean Outside Place (COP).
Surfaces that come into contact with food must be cleaned and sanitized after every use. They must also be cleaned when beginning to work with another type of food, after the task has been interrupted and a four-hour interval, if the items are in constant use.
Cleaning is the process of removing food and other types of soil from surfaces.
Sanitizing is reducing the number of microorganisms on a surface to a safe level.
CIP refers to the use of a mix of chemicals, plus heat and water to clean machinery, vessels or pipe work, without dismantling equipment. It is principally concerned with soil removal and surface sanitation: soil being anything that should not be present in a clean vessel. Soil can cause tainting and often causes foul odors. It can be visible (scale or foreign bodies) or invisible in a form of bacteria such as Salmonella, E. Coli or Yeast and Spores.
The process can be done in one shot, where everything goes into a drain, or recovery, which recycles most of the liquid. CIP can be a very efficient way of cleaning.