what three characteristics must food contact surfaces have

What Three Characteristics Must Food Contact Surfaces Have?

In order to ensure food safety, it is essential that food contact surfaces have certain characteristics. 

These characteristics are cleanliness, smoothness, and non-absorbency. Now, let’s examine each one in detail. 

What Three Characteristics Must Food Contact Surfaces Have?

Cleanliness: 

Food contact surfaces must be clean in order to prevent the spread of bacteria. Bacteria can cause food poisoning, so it is important to make sure that food contact surfaces are free of dirt, grease, and other contaminants. 

The best way to clean food contact surfaces is with hot water and soap.

Smoothness: 

Food contact surfaces must be smooth in order to prevent bacteria from accumulating. 

Bacteria can build up in crevices and rough spots, so it is important to make sure that food contact surfaces are free of these areas. The best way to ensure smoothness is to use a sanitized cloth or sponge when cleaning.

Non-Absorbency: 

Food contact surfaces must be non-absorbent in order to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. 

These fungi can cause serious health problems, so it is important to make sure that food contact surfaces do not absorb moisture. 

The best way to achieve non-absorbency is to use materials that are impermeable, such as stainless steel or glass. 

The Surfaces Your Food Comes Into Contact With Must Meet These Standards

From the time your food is harvested or slaughtered until it reaches your plate, it will come into contact with all sorts of surfaces. 

Some of these surfaces, like the ones your food is packaged in, are designed specifically for food contact. Others, like the conveyor belts in a processing plant or the floor of a truck that’s transporting food, are not. 

But no matter what kind of surface your food comes into contact with, there are certain standards it must meet in order to be considered safe. Here’s what you need to know about food contact surfaces.

What Are Food Contact Surfaces?

All surfaces that come into contact with food are considered food contact surfaces. This includes cooking utensils, cutting boards, countertops, and any other type of equipment that food comes into contact with during storage, preparation, or transportation. 

In some cases, it also includes the packaging material that food is stored in. 

It is essential to keep in mind that not all surfaces are created in the same way. Some surfaces, like those made from stainless steel or ceramic, are inert and won’t interact with food. 

Other surfaces, like wood or plastic, can absorb flavors and odors or leach chemicals into food. 

As a result, the materials that food contact surfaces are made from must meet certain safety standards set by the FDA in order to be considered safe for use. 

What Are the Standards for Food Contact Surfaces?

In order for a material to be considered safe for use as a food contact surface, it must meet two criteria: 

The material must be non-toxic. This means it cannot leach chemicals into food when it comes into contact with it. 

The material must be durable enough to withstand repeated use without deteriorating. 

There are four main categories of materials that are commonly used as food contact surfaces: metals, glass, ceramics, and plastics. Let’s take a closer look at each one. 

Metals: 

Metals like stainless steel and aluminum are non-porous and non-absorbent, which means they won’t interact with food. 

They’re also easy to clean and disinfect because they don’t harbor bacteria like other materials do. As a result, they’re often used in commercial kitchens and restaurants. 

Glass: 

Glass is another non-porous and non-absorbent material that won’t interact with food. It’s also easy to clean and disinfect because it doesn’t harbor bacteria like other materials do. 

However, glass is fragile and can break easily, so it’s not always the best choice for high-traffic areas or commercial kitchens where there is a risk of breakage. 

Ceramics: 

Ceramics are non-porous and non-absorbent materials that won’t interact with food. They’re also easy to clean and disinfect because they don’t harbor bacteria like other materials do. 

However, ceramics are fragile and can break easily, so they’re not always the best choice for high-traffic areas or commercial kitchens where there is a risk of breakage. 

Plastics: 

Plastics are synthetic materials made from polymers (long chains of molecules). Some plastics are designed for single-use only while others can be reused multiple times before they need to be replaced. 

Plastics can be either porous or non-porous; however, most plastics used as food contact surfaces are non-porous because they’re less likely to harbor bacteria than porous plastics are. 

While plastics are generally considered safe for use as long as they’re properly cleaned and cared for, some studies have shown that certain types of plastics can leach chemicals into food when they come into contact with it (this is why it’s important to avoid microwaving food in plastic containers). 

As a result of these concerns, some jurisdictions (like the European Union) have banned the use of certain types of plastics as food contact surfaces altogether. 

Conclusion!

When it comes time to choose a material for your food contact surface—whether it’s a cutting board for your home kitchen or packaging material for your business—it’s important to make sure that the material meets all safety standards set by the FDA. 

There are four main categories of materials that are commonly used as food contact surfaces: metals, glass, ceramics, and plastics. 

Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, so choose the one that’s right for your needs. And remember: always clean and disinfect your food contact surfaces regularly to prevent contamination.

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