food contact surfaces

Keeping Food Contact Surfaces Safe

Dan Citrus

food contact surfaces

Basic cleaning and sanitizing steps implemented on food contact surfaces are fundamental for reducing the risk of cross-contamination of foodborne pathogens during citrus harvest and post-harvest. While these steps may seem straightforward, several variables can influence effective implementation. A regular review of practices can ensure your operation is set up for success.


When reviewing or developing new packinghouse activities, it is helpful to map the flow of citrus movement to prevent potential contamination from foodborne pathogens. Through this process, you can identify food contact surfaces, which are high priority areas due to their direct contact with citrus and high risk of product contamination. Food contact surface examples include pick sacks, harvest/storage bins, conveyors, brushes, rollers, tables, racks, utensils and worker hands.

Cleaning and sanitation of food contact surfaces are key practices laid out in the Food and Drug Administration’s Produce Safety Rule. The proper implementation of these activities will reduce contamination risks in citrus. It is critical to consider if these surfaces can be fully cleaned and sanitized. For example, porous materials such as wood are commonly used for some situations but may be difficult to clean and sanitize due to its rough and absorbent nature. Ideally, food contact surfaces should meet the following criteria to facilitate proper cleaning and sanitation:

  • Non-absorbent
  • Non-toxic
  • Resistant to corrosion
  • Smooth
  • Resistant to scratching and chipping

Equipment and tools that are food contact surfaces must also be properly designed to facilitate cleaning and sanitation by meeting the following criteria:

  • Easy access
  • Ability to remove/access rollers, brushes and nozzles

Sometimes packinghouses may have older or retrofitted equipment that may not be ideally set up to facilitate these …..

Learn more from the Tip of the Week about Keeping Food Contact Surfaces Safe By Matt Krug, Michelle Danyluk and Taylor O’Bannon on the Citrus Industry website.