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Chemical Control

Development – To define detail, scope and purpose.

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Training participants will gain a basic understanding of Chemical Control and its applications within food safety and quality systems. Basic knowledge competency will be verified through successful completion of the accompanying Chemical Control assessment activity. Basic skill competency can be verified through the Chemical Control competency checklist available as a resource for this training activity.

Key Definitions For Chemical Control
- Chemical: A chemical is a substance used for a specified task. Chemicals are commonly associated with food safety and quality system elements such as pest control, cleaning and sanitation and maintenance within food businesses.
- Safety Data Sheet or SDS: Safety Data Sheets are the internationally standardized way to document the hazardous properties of chemicals and other hazardous agents including information on toxicity, first aid, personal protection controls, storage and handling precautions spill and leak clean-up and disposal practices, transportation, physical data and reactivity data.
- Personal Protective Equipment or PPE: Primary barrier of safety equipment that can consist of gloves, coats, gowns, shoe covers, boots, respirators, face shields, safety glasses, or goggles. PPE is used to shield or isolate individuals from the chemical, physical, and biological hazards they may encounter.
- Specification: A specification is an explicit set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product, or service. Should a material, product or service fail to meet one or more of the applicable specifications, it may be referred to as being out of specification.
- Titration: A process in which a carefully measured amount of a well characterized chemical substance is added to a substance of unknown concentration until a complete reaction has occurred. Titrations are used for chemical analyses to determine volumes of chemicals and other substances within a solution.

Chemical Control Development 
When considering the development, documentation and implementation of Chemical Control within food safety and quality management systems, the following information should be considered to ensure effective outcomes:

About Chemical Control 
The use of chemicals within any food business must include elements which not only promote food safety, but which also promote the general safe use, handling and storage of all cleaning, sanitation, pest control, maintenance and other chemicals. This can generally be facilitated by ensuring documented procedures for chemical control are documented and available to everyone using chemicals.

Chemical usage procedures may include:
- Familiarity with the type of chemical being used, including Composition, Strength, Associated Hazards. This information can generally be gathered from the SDS, labelling and manufacturer’s instructions. Procedures may include appropriate specifications for use such as "Do not mix with other chemicals" or "Do not add water";
- Labelling of decanted, diluted or prepared chemical mixtures to ensure they are not mistaken for other chemicals;
- Storing, handling and using chemicals away from foods, and in a way which prevents the contamination of foods;
- Defining the responsibility for chemical use;
- Training and competency verification procedures for team members required to handle or use chemicals.

Chemical Usage Requirements 
All pesticides, sanitisers, cleaners, polishes, lubricants and other toxic and non-toxic chemicals used in a food business must be:
- Necessary for the operation of the establishment. Unnecessary chemicals should not be found anywhere in the establishment;
- Used properly according to the manufacturers’ label and SDS instructions;
- Properly labelled when chemicals are removed from the original container and put into a working container. Food containers should not be used as working containers for chemicals;
- Considerations must be given to the legal requirements for chemical handling and use. The use of some chemicals must only be conducted by specially licensed persons. Legal requirements also commonly include requirements for PPE to be worn.

Chemical Approvals 
Food business chemicals must be approved for use in the food establishment. Some products, such as food grade lubricants, may contain statements by the manufacturer as being approved for use within the food industry or a specific industry sector. Before use within a food business, a confirmation must be received that chemical products are approved for specific use, and will not potentially contaminate foods. It is important to consider that chemicals such as restricted-use pesticides can only be used by a certified pest control operator. Regulatory approvals may also be required for the use of some chemicals within food businesses.

Chemical Storage, Segregation and Security 
Chemicals used within food businesses must be properly stored and located with insecticides and rodenticides stored separately from cleaning compounds and other chemicals. All chemicals and pesticides must be stored separate from food, food contact surfaces and single-use and single-service articles. In this context, the term separate does not include storage of toxic chemicals above food, food contact surfaces, single-use and single-service articles.

The storage of chemicals must also meet local regulatory and environmental protection requirements.

Where necessary, adequate facilities for the storage and handling of food, ingredients and non-food chemicals including cleaning chemicals, pest control chemicals, lubricants and other maintenance chemicals must be provided.

Where appropriate, food storage and handling facilities should be designed and constructed to:
- Permit adequate maintenance and cleaning;
- Avoid pest access and harbourage;
- Enable food to be effectively protected from contamination during storage and handling;
- Where necessary, provide an environment that minimises the deterioration of food through controls including temperature and humidity.

The type of facilities required will depend on the nature of the food items being stored and handled by a food business. Where necessary, segregated and secure storage facilities should be provided for cleaning chemicals, pest control chemicals, lubricants and other maintenance chemicals. Storage facilities for ingredients, packaging and other materials should also be appropriately secured and adequately ventilated.

Chemical Dosing Units 
Chemical dosing units are commonly fitted to ensure the appropriate dilution of the chemicals with water and other liquids where required. Where chemical dosing units are fitted, it is important that they are regularly calibrated to ensure their accuracy. The calibration of chemical dosing units should be scheduled and documented, just as the calibration for items such as thermometers or scales. It is common for chemical suppliers to manage this function within food businesses, commonly through the use of titration methods to show that the outfeed from the dosing unit includes the chemical in the correct concentration. Outcomes of calibration activities should be recorded and reviewed on an ongoing basis to re-confirm the avoidance of product contamination.

Chemical Handling and Usage Training 
Specific Chemical Training is a standard requirement for persons involved with the use of chemicals within food businesses. It is important that chemical training is tailored to the specific requirements of the chemicals being used, to ensure that foods do not become contaminated by such usage.

t is important that the application of chemical handling and usage training is completed prior to persons being left un-supervised to use chemicals within a food business. Competency against chemical handling and usage training requirements should also be verified prior to un-supervised interactions.

It is important to consider that specific chemical handling and usage training should be developed, scheduled, conducted and recorded to display compliance for functional chemicals used as food additives or processing aids. The use of such chemicals should be well controlled; it is common for chemicals such as nitrites and sulphites to be stored in secure areas, and only accessible to authorised persons to ensure any accidental or intentional misuse is unlikely to occur.

Chemical Inventory Listings 
It is common for food businesses to develop, document, implement and maintain chemical inventory listings to track the usage and location of chemicals within a food business. This activity not only provides evidence of appropriate chemical usage, but also assists in controlling the costs associated with purchasing chemicals for use. An added bonus is the ability to confirm chemicals received against the chemical inventory listing, to ensure the chemical has not changed from its original specification and active ingredients.

Chemical inventory listings commonly include the following details:
- Chemical Supplier;
- Chemical Name;
- Chemical Unit Size;
- Date Received;
- Batch or Lot Number;
- Active Ingredients;
- Nominated Dilution Ratio;
- Intended Dilution Ratio;
- Currency of SDS;
- Date of Started Use;
- Date of Finished Use.

There are many different types of Cleaning and Sanitation chemicals available for use within the food industry:

Detergents are used to remove dirt particles; they are not designed to kill micro-organisms, although their pH levels can affect growth and status. Detergents are chemicals that usually have a surfactant quality, making removal of dirt from surfaces easier. The most appropriate time to clean surfaces with detergents in solution or as recommended is immediately after use, removing food particles before they become hardened and more difficult to remove, and facilitate micro-organism’s growth. The strength of a detergent regarding its cleaning power is reflected in its alkalinity content. It is important to recognise that the use of hot water as a component of cleaning and sanitising routines where appropriate can dramatically improve the capability of the system to control micro-organisms.

Sanitisers are generally not good at removing dirt, but do kill micro-organisms if used according to the conditions of use. The majority of food poisoning bacteria are killed if they are exposed to heat, chemical sanitisers, or a combination of both. Chlorine or Bleach is one of the most commonly used chemical sanitisers used in food industries today. Commercial bleach contains around 10% Chlorine, while the domestic variety is commonly around 4% Chlorine. High-risk areas to be sanitised should use a solution at a concentration up to 100 parts per million of available chlorine. Other areas and applications may require a solution of around 50 parts per million.

How do I choose a particular Detergent or Sanitiser? 
The factors that determine the performance of a particular detergent or sanitiser include:

The type of substance that is to be removed, as different types of detergents are more adept at removing specific substances. Fats, sugars and proteins are the three main types of substances that detergents are developed to remove. Dirt reduces a sanitiser’s ability to kill micro-organisms because the micro-organisms are able to shelter in and beneath dirt where they are difficult to reach;
- The water temperature used in conjunction with the detergent or sanitiser: Most detergents and sanitisers are designed to work at their best in either hot or cold water. Using a product in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions will produce the best outcomes in cleaning and sanitising;
- The concentration or dilution rates: Cleaners and sanitisers should be supplied with a Safety Data Sheet or SDS. This sheet, along with the identified directions for use on the supplied container or accompanying documentation, will outline the requirements for utilising the product for its maximum benefit in the Cleaning and Sanitation process.
- Exposure time: Detergents and sanitisers need to be exposed to surfaces for long enough to be effective. Exposure times can also be found on the documentation accompanying the product. 

Chemical sanitising generally requires greater controls than sanitising with hot water or steam.

The following factors must be considered in order to obtain effective sanitation by chemical methods:
- Amount of water used;
- pH of the water;
- Temperature of the water;
- Contact time.

The pH and hardness of the water being used needs to be determined. Should the water supply be from a municipal supply, the water company may adjust the hardness of the water through processing controls. If the water is from other sources, it may need to be tested periodically to ensure ongoing appropriate outcomes.

Obtaining Correct Chemical Sanitising Ratios
When not using an automated chemical dosing system, chemical sanitiser instructions call for a given amount of chemical sanitiser per litre of water. This ratio of chemical sanitiser to water is important to ensure ongoing appropriate outcomes for the sanitation process.

If manual chemical sanitiser measuring and mixing methods are used, it is important that the processes involved follow procedure and are verified on an ongoing basis.

Staff involved in applications where they are required to manually measure and mix chemicals must be trained and deemed competent in the required tasks.

If your food business supplies foodstuffs manufactured to a customer’s specifications, it is important to consider any specific Chemical Control Development requirements in relation to their items.

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