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Issue Number: Council III 008


Establishment of Criteria for Presence and Use of General Purpose Cleaners

Issue you would like the Conference to consider

Currently there are no formulation or label requirements defined in the Food Code or 21 CFR for General Purpose Cleaners and related products, despite the fact that these products are widely used in proximity to food, as well as on food contact surfaces. Common types of chemical cleaners used within food service establishments include: general purpose cleaners, floor and wall cleaners, scouring agents, carbon removers and degreasers for cooking surfaces and utensils. The Food Code currently addresses several types of chemical compounds in Section 7-2, including chemicals, lubricants, pesticides, medicines and first aid supplies. However, one of the products most commonly found in retail food establishments are general purpose cleaners. USDA/FSIS previously addressed these products (Categories A1, C1) which provided criteria for presence and use, in its "White Book" program which was terminated in 1999. The recommended solution below reflects USDA/FSIS criteria for cleaners in its White Book program, and despite the program's termination as part of an overall transition to HACCP, remains the best available minimum criteria for general purpose cleaners.

Public Health Significance

The Food Code does not have detailed criteria for the presence and use of general purpose cleaners. The proliferation of new "green" cleaners and other new cleaning formulations presents possible new contamination risks. The Food Code should provide more detailed guidance on formulations and use of general purpose cleaners.

Recommended Solution: The Conference recommends...

that a letter be sent to FDA recommending the creation of a new section (7-204.15) to read as follows:

  • Chemical cleaner formulations shall not contain intentionally added heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, antimony, or known human carcinogens. Fragrance components such as pine oil or d-limonene are not acceptable at detectable levels. Boric acid and salts thereof may be used in products only at concentrations up to 90 percent in association with strong acids, strong alkalis, soaps, or synthetic detergents.Products shall be labeled for use within food establishments. Instructions specifying that use of chemical cleaners must be followed by a potable water rinse shall be included on the label, except for cleaners used in areas with subfreezing temperatures. Metal cleaners/polishes may only be used on non-food contact surfaces, and do not require a potable water rinse after use.
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