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that is being processed. Staff should steer away from using machines and sprays in these areas to avoid creating aerosols, which can land on food contact surfaces.


3.MAINTAIN CLEANING EQUIPMENT


If the tools used to clean floors are not well maintained, they can become sources of contamination. This includes mops, buckets, squeegees and machines. Tools should be cleaned after use with a fresh solution of the cleaner that was used on the floor, then rinsed with fresh water, sanitised and stored in such a way that they dry as soon as possible. Dolly or Kentucky mops should not be stored in buckets of cleaner or sanitiser. Microfibre mops should be laundered daily to remove contamination.


4. CONDUCT EMPLOYEE TRAINING


There is a high turnover rate in cleaning staff, so continual training is vital. New staff members should be trained at the onset of their employment and seasoned employees should undergo training when work tasks change or when monitoring shows that cleaning is inconsistent with expected results.


Training should focus on educating employees to use the proper products and tools for each area of the store, and to adhere to proper dilution ratios. Employees must follow the manufacturers’ instructions and avoid playing home chemist; more is not always better. Improper usage or dilutions are wasteful and costly, and the wrong combination of chemicals can have harmful results. Finally, cleaning tasks should be easy for employees. If something is too complex, it’s less likely to be completed in the proper way.


5. PAY ATTENTION TO SMALL DETAILS


Cleaning staff should give extra attention to frequently overlooked areas, such as places where higher-risk product is stored. Special attention should be given to areas with heavier


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traffic or increased soil load such as meat rooms and bakery areas, and areas that tend to get wet.


Floors should also be kept in good repair. Grout in disrepair and cracked tiles are a food safety nightmare because they can harbour microorganisms and are more difficult to clean. Thus, floor maintenance should be incorporated into a floorcare schedule as well to ensure that high- traffic areas or places where moisture gathers remain in shape over time.


6. THINK LIKE THE CUSTOMER


Metaphorically speaking, cleaning staff should put themselves in their customers’ shoes when completing cleaning tasks because the perception of cleanliness impacts a customer’s decision to frequent a business. According to an August 2012 online survey, with responses from more than 1,600 individuals in the U.S, UK, the Netherlands and Spain who are responsible for purchasing food in their households, 37% of customers noted they will leave a supermarket without making a purchase if they are not satisfied with the level of cleanliness in the store.


Customers who stay, but are also not satisfied with the level of cleanliness will cut their spending costs by an average of 45%, resulting in lost revenue for retailers. If cleaning tasks are not producing high quality results, organisations need to reassess the processes, products and tools that are being used.


From a food safety perspective, there is a potential for cross contamination to occur if floors are not properly maintained and cleaned. Fortunately, if cleaning staff notice floors are already well cared for, they’re more likely to keep them looking good over time. And since customers rely on a limited number of clues to determine if a retail store is safe, floor cleanliness being one of them, retail stores need to continually focus on the state of the floor. By following these six tips, retail facilities can help ensure food safety and keep customers returning.


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