This is an update to the 2011 Guidance which was developed in response to the foodborne E. coli O157
outbreaks in Scotland and Wales. Both outbreaks were attributed to cross-contamination arising from poorly managed food handling practices. Rather than reproduce the bits that are the same this should be read in conjunction with the notes on the 2011 Guidance
The biggest single change is that the guidance on thermal disinfection in commercial dish wash machines has been replaced by ‘follow the manufacturer’s instructions’
. Given many machines are built to a DIN standard the chances of something being cleaned reaching 82ºC for 15 seconds at the surface is effectively zero – this is the requirement under EU law for utensils used on raw food. The 2011 Guidance referred to rinse tank temperatures and was in need of clarification but this isn’t really any clearer. The challenge will be in how Environmental Health Officers enforce this; there is a risk many will default to 82ºC for 15 seconds but technically this only applies to utensils used on raw foods, not – for example – crockery that has been in contact with ready-to-eat foods. They also make nebulous references to steam but give no detail; wet steam at 65ºC will give a 4 log reduction (that’s 99.99%) in E. coli
in 8.4 seconds but if it’s dry heat it’s 547 minutes at the same temperature.