Listeria & other bacteria, How do I prevent them in my production facilities?

Hygiene preparations and regulations often arise as a result of routine or custom, or as a result of incidents. They receive little attention in practice and are seen as a major cost factor. Cleverly thinking about the implementation and the necessary frequency of a cleaning activity, improves food safety and saves on cleaning costs.

When production, quality inspection and the hygiene team talk to each other and work together, clarity and a clear overview are created. If companies properly record and monitor the structure and conditions for cleaning and adjust and optimise these in good time, the food safety risks become manageable. As soon as a company organises and carries out the cleaning properly, it determines its own course and is able to navigate on it. "Putting out fires" is then no longer necessary and everyone within the company is prepared for (unannounced) audits.

A current example of preventable infections is the recent appearance of the Listeria and Salmonella bacteria within the Dutch food industry. 

At which places within the food industry is there bacterial growth and how can this be prevented within my facilities?

Floors & drains

Bacteria such as Listeria are common in the environment and are found in the ground, water, animal intestines and on raw food. This can easily lead to the bacteria ending up in food production plants and spreading rapidly. Listeria can adhere to the surface of floors and sewers by forming a biofilm. This makes them difficult to remove during cleaning. 

A pond with static water is a paradise for bacteria and therefore leads to colonization of several different bacteria. To minimise the development of Listeria and other bacteria, floors should be kept as dry as possible. Water consumption for cleaning and processing should be kept to a minimum. 

Vikan cleaning materials are specially designed for this purpose and can contribute to achieving your hygiene standards. Water from a leak should be removed immediately (using a floor squeegee or vacuum cleaner) and any leaks should be repaired as soon as possible.

It is important to prevent Listeria contamination from spreading between different high-risk areas. It is therefore important to keep these areas separate from your low-risk areas. This will limit the spread of bacteria caused by water, aerosols and the movement of people and equipment. An excellent way to achieve this is to use a hygienestation with disinfection, soap and drying possibilities.

Production equipment

Like floors and drains, hard-to-clean areas on and in food processing equipment can become a breeding ground for Listeria and countless other bacteria due to water accumulation and contamination.  

To minimise risk, it is essential to use hygienically designed processing equipment that is easy to clean and made of materials suitable for food contact. 

It is important to take a critical look at the way of cleaning. The use of high-pressure cleaners and scrubbers may be a quick way to clean but it increases the risk of spreading bacteria. The use of these machines can ensure that bacteria are spread on production machines, parts and other surfaces by means of air displacement. 

Low pressure foam cleaning is a good alternative. With low pressure foam cleaning system it is possible to offer complete system solutions for flushing, foam and disinfection - all functions in one system. Low-pressure technology enables efficient, material-saving and low-cost cleaning of surfaces and production facilities. 

A separate injector for each chemical prevents the mixing of different chemicals and can always ensure individual dosing at the right concentration. Cleaners have a longer surface contact and minimize aerosol formation.                        


Quality more important than quantity
Furthermore, the frequency of cleaning and disinfection should be based on risk assessment, but for equipment used for processing chilled ready-to-eat food, this should probably be at least once a day.

Daily cleaning should be complemented by regular machine disassembly and deep cleaning so that areas that are difficult to reach are also reached during daily cleaning. A risk assessment therefore allows you to adjust the frequency of (deep) cleaning according to the level of risk.

During cleaning and disinfection, consider hard-to-reach areas on the equipment. These are the areas where bacteria can be present, especially if an area remains wet for a long time. Some examples are given below:

  • Long damp open frames
  • Corners and holes
  • Hollow roller tracks
  • Poor welding seams
  • Cavities in cutting machines
  • Cavities under hoods and seals
  • Cleaning materials


Cleaning materials

Cleaning materials are indispensable to prevent contamination in your facilities, rooms and machines. However, if poorly maintained, the same materials can become a source of the same bacteria that you are trying to combat. 

In order to prevent listeria in the field of cleaning materials, two things are crucial:

  • A hygienic design
  • Proper maintenance of the cleaning tools.

Your cleaning materials must have a hygienic design and be easy to clean. This prevents microbiological growth of bacteria. 

A hygienic design includes the following properties

  • A smooth construction
  • One-piece construction
  • Easy to disassemble
  • No crevices, cracks, seams or edges.

Havantec can advise you on the choice of suitable cleaning materials. After purchasing the correct materials, it is very important that you maintain the items in the correct manner. After use, the cleaning materials must also be cleaned, disinfected and replaced regularly. A good way to distinguish the cleaning materials from your high and low risk areas is colour coding.

Wondering what we can do for you? Contact us!
T. 0499-376970 E. info@havantec.nl 

In addition to Hygiene facilities, Havantec Food Equipment supplies a wide range of production machines, internal transport equipment and stainless steel equipment. Havantec also has its own technical department which can place and install the installations. In addition, they provide a flexible, fast and targeted solution in the event of malfunctions.