No matter if you employ the three-sink technique or using a warewasher or three-sink method, it’s essential to disinfect your restaurant’s food items as well as wash them. Sanitization, according to the U.S. Food Code, is any chemically or heat caused method that reduces the amount of microorganisms that can be found on the surface in the range of 99.999 per cent. 1 The sanitizing process can be accomplished using hot or chemically-treated water or hot water, however in each case there are certain parameters that must be achieved to ensure that the proper quantity of bacteria are killed. Sanitizer test strips for restaurants are a way to verify that the levels are reached to protect your customers from food-borne illness.
Table of Contents
The Guide for Chemical Sanitizers and Sanitizer Test Strips
- Quaternary Ammonium
- Hot Water Sanitization
- Quick Reference Guide
Utilizing approved Sanitizers for Food Service
The most well-known methods of cleaning dishes is to use one of the many potent chemicals within the three compartments of a sink. Find out more about sanitizing dishes using this method by reading the three-compartment sinks manual. The three most frequently utilized approved sanitizers for food service include chlorine trimethyl ammonium, quaternary ammonium, as well as the iodine. Each one must be used at the right amount; however, using excessive or insufficient amounts or too much of the chemicals in the water you use to sanitize can pose a risk.
Although the instructions of each chemical manufacturer specify the proportion of water to chemical be used, there’s a few things that may create difficulties in maintaining these levels.
- Guessing Volume: Many sinks don’t have demarcations of volume within their bowls, and many employees don’t make the effort to measure the amount of water that goes into the sanitizing basin, but rather “eyeballing” the quantity. This could lead to incorrect dilutes.
- Water Contents Mineral Content: The mineral content in the water, as measured in the degree of hardness and softness can influence the way the chemical interacts in it. This makes the right concentration difficult to attain by taking measurements.
Due to these issues due to these issues, it is essential to keep sanitizer test strips in restaurants available to verify the right amount of sanitizer every time. Test strips allow you to show an inspector of health that the process of sanitizing is in compliance with guidelines.
Chlorine, sometimes referred to as bleach is among the most popular sanitation methods. It is readily accessible and cheap, however, it is characterized by a distinct smell that can be unpleasant if left on food items. Furthermore the chlorine’s cleansing power rapidly when it comes into contact with organic substances and oils and can be less effective if the sink is contaminated. This is why the mixture of chlorine has to be replaced more frequently than other chemical Sanitizers. 2
The chlorine sanitizer solution should contain an amount of between 50 and 100 parts per million (ppm) in water temperatures between 70 and 100°F with a minimum contact time of no less than 7 seconds. The chlorine test strips designed for use in foodservice are readily available to ensure that the right solution is made. The paper is immersed into the water and it turns gray which can be compared to the scale included with the test strips, with the majority of scales between 10 and 200 ppm.
Quaternary ammonium is a dishwashing agent that cleans dishes making use of it’s positively charged cations that connect with positively charged particles from the undesirable microbes. The sanitizing solutions are often called quaternary ammonium compound (QACs) also known as quats. Quaternary ammonium is usually preferred over chlorine solutions due to the fact that it is noncorrosive. Therefore, it won’t rust the stainless steel with time. Ammonium is also non-irritating to the skin. Due to its detergent-like properties it is able to take on much more dirt than chloramine, before needing to be replaced.
However, quats typically are not able to function with hard waters, which makes testing an essential element of any quaternary ammonium-based sanitation program. The quat test paper is used to measure the amount of the Quat sanitizer inside the water by using a scale of color that ranges between 0 and 500 ppm. The test paper is sold in pre-cut strips as well as tear-off rolls. The majority of quaternary ammonium soaps require concentrations of between 150 and 200 ppm, in water that is not less than 75°F, with dishes immersed for at least 30 seconds.
Iodine while not as widespread like chlorine and quaternary ammonium offers some advantages for restaurants that decide to make use of it. This sanitizing agent is brown with the color representing the power of the solution which ensures a high concentration, but it can also cause discoloration of your dishes in time. Iodine doesn’t have any effect by hardness the water, however it is more sensitive to the pH and works better with water that is moderately acidic. Although it’s not as durable as quaternary ammonium is, it is more durable than chlorine when it is in it’s presence in organic substances. Iodine is also more gentle to apply to the skin than chlorine, although not as gentle as quaternary Ammonium.
This sanitizer is recommended to use in a concentration of 12.5 to 25 per cent in water with at or near 75 degrees Fahrenheit but not more than 120 degrees F. Iodine test strips can be purchased to ensure that this solution is in the right dilution. the color alone isn’t sufficient to determine the concentration. Be aware that the use of iodine is not permitted in all areas to be used as an sanitizer So, be sure to verify the local regulations.
Hot Water Sanitization
Hot water is also the principal method of sanitizing the dishes. In a compartment sink this can be accomplished with an circulating water heater. It is easy to determine temperatures of water since the sink is open and accessible via thermometers. In the case of a warewasher temperature of the rinse that is used to sanitize is a bit more challenging.
Temperature test strips allow operators to test the temperature of water in their dishwashers. They are designed to adhere onto the interior of the unit where the water hits the strips. Each strip is colored stripe which disappears after a certain temperature has been attained. There are strips that test for temperatures between 160 and 180 degrees, which means operators can determine the wash, rinse and the temperature of sanitizing.
Another method for checking the temperature of hot water in dishwashers is to use the use of a specially designed thermometer. It only works using a thermometer that has been designed and approved for this for this purpose, since they’re specifically designed to store and record the temperature that is recorded at the top of the wash cycle. Other thermometers might not provide a correct reading and, in most cases it will not function correctly after being washed in the dishwasher.
Which method of sanitation should I Choose?
- Cheapest sanitizing chemical
- The hands are rough
- It can leave a sour scent
- It is important to change the filter frequently.
- Doesn’t irritate skin
- Longer than chlorine
- It doesn’t work well with hard water.
- Unaffected by hardness of water
- It lasts longer than chlorine, but however, not as long as quats.
- It is possible that brownwares will be stained
- Not approuvé in all places.
- No chemicals required
- You need an additional heater
- Won’t degrade wares