The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted normal operations for countless food and beverage manufacturers. Disruptions from future pandemics may occur due to limited staff because of layoffs, social distancing requirements, or sickness; additional sanitation requirements to control viral transmission; changes in production levels; and possibly plant shutdown. These situations can lead to the need of resources for food safety sanitation.

It is essential that food manufacturers create safe, quality food, therefore, routine practices need to continue and additional sanitation may need to be added. Employers also need to ensure a safe environment for their staff, including minimizing the risk of being exposed to harmful viruses and infections.


Review your Standard Sanitation Operating Procedures.

  • Have you checked your SSOPs to ensure you know what the required tools are for the equipment?
  • Have you reviewed your color-code plan? Does it meet any new requirements you may have implemented?
  • Have you checked that all shadow boards, tool racks, and storage locations are stocked and tools are in good condition?
  • Do any tools need to be replaced?

Learn More About Custom Shadow Boards

Individual work stations should be checked to verify all tools are present.

  • Are all tools present and in the correct work station?
  • Do all tools present adhere to the established color-code plan?

Discard and replace any worn or damaged tools.

  • Do any tools display damage such as cracks or gouges that could potentially harbor microorganisms?
  • Are any tools at risk of having damaged pieces separate from the tool and potentially contaminate your products?
  • Are there any tools that may pose a risk to employee safety?

Even though a tool may be new, they must still be cleaned and sanitized.

  • New tools may look clean, but they may never have been sanitized by the manufacturer.
  • Contamination, such as dirt and microorganisms, may have come in contact with the item during warehousing, packaging, and even shipping.
  • An individually wrapped tool does not make it safe from contamination.

Learn more about Preparing New Cleaning Tools for Use

Clean existing tools.

  • Even if tools were properly cleaned prior to shut down, it is important to re-clean and sanitize before being used in operations again.

Clean the hard-to-reach and forgotten about areas.

  • These areas may include rough welds, hooks, blunt ends, cracks and creases, gaskets, hollow areas, and in between bristles.

Sanitation Practices for Viral and Cross-Contamination Control

On a frequent and ongoing basis, the below cleaning measures should be taken.

  • Commonly touched surfaces should be cleaned more frequently. These include:
  • Handrails
  • Door push plates
  • Turnstiles
  • Utensils
  • Cart and bucket handles
  • Taps
  • Hoses
  • Cleaning tools
  • Machine control panels
  • Scales
  • Bulk ingredient bin

  • Adding a unique color to your color-coding program to specifically clean the non-food contact surfaces in your facility should be considered.
  • Clean tools between use to lessen the chances of spreading viruses or bacteria.

Properly Trained Staff is Important in Food Safety & Pandemic Safety Plans

In order to build and maintain a positive food safety culture, having properly trained staff is very important.
This applies to general and pandemic enhanced safety plans.

A positive culture includes:

  • Strong leadership.
  • Ongoing training.
  • Informed and engaged employees.
  • Self-audits built into workplace structures.
  • Organizational structure.
  • Empowered employees who share responsibility and are rewarded for proper practices.
  • Have a strong food safety program that contains preventative controls and measures.