Getting Your Shoe Sanitizing Program Started on the Right Foot

Footwear Safety Program

According to the CDC, roughly one in six Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne illnesses EACH YEAR. No facility wants to be the one responsible, yet we constantly hear of food recalls and establishments being closed due to food contamination issues. While it’s not a simple task to determine exactly when a cross-contamination has occurred, there’s one thing you can do to help significantly reduce the risk, and it starts with what’s on your feet.

You may not realize it but footwear has been shown to spread pathogens and bacteria such as Listeria and Salmonella. In fact, one study showed that the shoes tested averaged 421,000 units of bacteria PER shoe! What’s worse is the bacteria from the shoes transferred directly onto the clean tiles over 90% of the time. Considering that Salmonella alone is responsible on average for 11 million domestically acquired foodborne illnesses per year, a footwear safety program should be an essential part of any overall food safety program.

Here are a few tips to help get you started…

How Will You Handle Sanitizing Footwear?
There are a number of options for keeping footwear clean, ranging everywhere from shoe covers to workplace-only shoes. However, probably the simplest and easiest to enforce is the use of shoe sanitizing mats. Placed in strategic locations around the facility, an employee needs only to step on the mat, step off and then wipe their feet on an adjacent dry mat to remove any excess disinfectant. This is a simple method that only takes an extra minute or so of their time to ensure maximum food safety.

Where Will You Set Up Footwear Safety Stations?
Take a hard look at your current procedures and see where you can improve. Where would be the best place for footwear food safety locations. Is it most effective for eliminating cross-contamination? Is it easy to reach for cleaning the mats and the area?

How Will You Train and Ensure Compliance?
The best laid plans only work if everyone knows what’s expected of them. For maximum results, you’ll need to make sure employees are properly trained to use the footwear cleaning and sanitizing units. In addition, you’ll need to determine how to ensure compliance procedure and procedures for cleaning and maintaining the mats.

No matter how big or small your location is, as a food-related facility, putting in a proper footwear food safety program ensures your facility is doing its part to keep the food supply safe and free from dangerous and expensive contaminations and recalls.

To learn more about the footwear sanitation mats, click here.