Sanitizers and Disinfectants: A Retail Food and Foodservice Perspective

Angela M. Fraser, Jeffrey Anderson, Juan Goncalves, Elaine Black, Anna Starobin, David Buckley, Dale Grinstead, Chip Manuel, Jill Hollingsworth Biblographic citation: Food Protection Trends, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 358-367, May 2021 Volume 41, Issue 3: Pages 358–367

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has brought heightened attention to the importance of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting in retail food and foodservice establishments. In response, major governmental agencies have emphasized the need to frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces. While this recommendation may seem straightfor-ward and achievable, it is far more nuanced and complex. In the retail food and foodservice industry, sanitization is a routine, common practice defined and recommended in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Code. Hence, sanitizers, rather than disinfectants, are the main antimicrobial products used in these settings. It is important to emphasize that sanitizers and disinfectants are not inter-changeable products, so they may be inadvertently misused. Therefore, end users need to understand the differences of when, why, and how both can be used in retail food and foodservice settings. The aim of this paper is to increase end users’ knowledge and awareness about the proper use of sanitizers and disinfectants in retail food and foodservice establishments. This paper is organized into six sections—Antimicrobial Products: Sanitizers and Disinfectants, FDA Food Code, Regulation of Sanitizers and Disinfectants, Understanding EPA-Registered Labels, Emerging Issues, and Current and Future Trends in Sanitizing and Disinfecting. When used properly, sanitizers and disinfectants are powerful tools that can keep retail food and foodservice operations safe from pathogens that cause infectious disease.

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