The importance of good cleaning tools maintenance is now recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and reflected in their approval of global food safety schemes, including the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Food Safety System Certification (FSSC), which now contain sections specifically related to this.
To comply, facilities need cleaning tools as a source and vector of contamination. Typically, cleaning tools are used over large surface areas and are capable of collecting (and subsequently spreading) contamination. Unpublished data from Campden BRI, UK, used to establish guidance on effective microbiological sampling of food processing areas showed that 47% of the cleaning tools sampled were positive for Listeria monocytogenes. Whether this observation was due to poor hygienic practices or to the poor hygienic design of the cleaning tools (or both) is unknown. Regardless, the observation gave rise to the concept of cleaning tools as major “collection” points for the isolation of pathogens.