Ministry of & Lands

Cleaning and Sanitizing 

Cleaning and sanitizing are important steps in all production systems. If done improperly, they can contaminate food.

This Good Agricultural Practice applies to:

All farms.

What needs to be done

Properly clean and sanitize facilities, equipment, vehicles, washrooms and food contact surfaces where necessary to protect food from contamination.

How to do it

Identify what needs to be cleaned and sanitized

  • Areas (e.g. food handling and storage) and/or equipment (e.g. sorting tables, containers, vehicles, dispensers, fans) that come into contact with or are associated with the use of pesticides, animal health products or food require some level of cleaning and sanitizing.
  • Cleaning can vary according to the desired outcome (e.g. simple surface sweeping; rinsing with clean water; power washing with hot water and soap followed by disinfecting, followed by a final clean water rinse; or using a flushing sequence in feed mixers to remove residues from previous mixes).

Develop written practices

  • Generally written practices are developed when:
    • Concentrated chemicals are mixed and used;
    • Detailed instructions must be given to remove residues from equipment or surfaces;
    • Pre-determined frequencies for cleaning and sanitizing must be followed;
    • There are unique cleaning situations (e.g. flushing mixers of livestock medicated feeds).
  • A practice should:
    • Identify who is responsible for cleaning which area or piece of equipment.
    • Specify the frequency of cleaning (e.g. daily, weekly or after use only).
    • Describe the appropriate tools required to do the job (e.g. gloves, buckets, brushes).
    • Specify which product is used for a particular task, and what the contact time should be. If applicable, specify the water temperature requirements and rinsing steps.
    • Describe how to clean and sanitize. Include instructions on how to disassemble and reassemble equipment if necessary.

Choose the right cleaning and sanitizing products

  • Make sure each product is approved for the intended use and mixed at the correct concentration. Ask your suppliers for appropriate cleaning and sanitizing products, or refer to:

    “Reference Listing of Accepted Construction Materials, Packaging Materials and Non-Food Chemical Products” (Canadian Food Inspection Agency)

  • Make sure products are safe for use on the surface being cleaned. The best source for product use information is the manufacturer’s label, but in general:

Adapted from: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (

Use cleaning and sanitizing products properly

  • Mix cleaning and/or sanitizing products according to directions on the product label.
  • Follow label instructions for use. These may include thorough rinsing with potable water to remove residues.
  • Properly label containers for handling, mixing and storing cleaning and sanitizing products. Clean or rinse containers properly when finished.

In general

  • Train workers to follow proper cleaning and sanitizing practices and identify possible food safety hazards.
  • Change cleaning and sanitizing solutions (e.g. in boot wash stations) when necessary. Organic matter in the solution can reduce their effectiveness.
  • When determining chemical concentrations, take into consideration conditions such as pH, hardness, or the presence of buffers in your water source. These conditions can affect the amount of chemical required to effectively clean and/or sanitize.
  • Evaluate cleaning and sanitizing practices on an on-going basis for effectiveness and adjust if necessary.

Terms used in this good agricultural practice

Cleaning: The removal of dirt, dust, manure and chemical residues from surfaces. This can be as simple as removing manure from a pen, or a two-step process beginning by removing dirt with soap and water by various methods (e.g. power washer, scrub brush) and then rinsing with water.

Sanitizing: A process whereby a clean surface is coated with an approved chemical solution/water mix to kill or reduce pathogens.

Records to keep

  • Cleaning and sanitizing practices
  • Cleaning and Sanitizing Record (record template provided in Support Tools section – Form #5), or your own record that includes:
    • Date,
    • What was cleaned and/or sanitized,
    • Products used and their preparation,
    • Initials of worker.

If you need an audit

Be prepared for the auditor to:

  • Review written cleaning and sanitizing practices and records or verification that only approved products are used;

  • Observe your facilities for general cleanliness;

  • Observe workers carrying out cleaning and sanitizing procedures.

Laws and regulations that apply

Calculating ppm solutions from a concentrated liquid For a Large volume of water