Foot Baths in Food Processing Plants

By. Najih - 25 Jun 2024


An effective shoe sanitizing program is key in preventing employee work shoes from contaminating production zones and ultimately finished food products, and it is important for facilities with different allergen control zones. Food processing plants have been using foot baths (also called shoe baths and foot mats) as a method of reducing cross-contamination from footwear in their processing facilities. Typically, a foot bath is a large tub, trough or tray filled with some type of antimicrobial solution. The worker walks through the solution and saturates the soles of their footwear, thus reducing the number of potentially danger pathogens that may be there.


Here are some ways your product could become contaminated by bacteria from the floor:

  • Picking items up from the floor with gloves, trash, or a dropped box etc. and using that same glove to continue working with product
  • Dropping packaging material onto the floor, but picking it up and continuing to touch product while packing
  • Buckets of rework sitting on the floor, picked up, and dumped into bowls, however the bottom of buckets are touched with gloves, but gloves are not changed before touching dough


When choosing a surface sanitizer for foot baths sanitization, facilities should again consider their specific needs. Dry facilities often benefit from D2-rated, alcohol-based formulated surface sanitizers, which are ready-to-use, highly evaporative, do not require a rinse, and are EPA registered. These formulas are ideal for water-sensitive equipment and low-moisture environments, making for a useful product in all areas of the facility. Products commonly used in wet footwear sanitizing environments are quat and chlorine-based formulas. For an additional layer of protection, adding a mat with floor treatment powder next to the footwear sanitizing station provides a sure-footed surface when exiting. In addition, using a floor treatment with surfactants will help ensure the powder penetrates all cracks, crevices, and porous areas of the foot baths.


Foot baths have many inherent problems.

  • Diminished Effectiveness: From the very first use, the antimicrobial solution’s effectiveness is diminished. The more workers that walk through the solution, the less effective it becomes. The only remedy is to dump out the old solution and add a fresh batch.
  • Can Be Avoided by Workers: Footbaths can be stepped over, walked around, and generally avoided by workers, so it requires frequent monitoring.

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