Column Judith Witte: Clean enough
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Column Judith Witte: Clean enough

  • 21 November 2022
  • By: Judith Witte

My definition of 'clean' is quite different from the one usually used by my homeliving offspring (16, 18, 20). Our living situation is no exception. Since the introduction of the social loan system (2015), far fewer students have started living in student rooms and young people, partly due to the rising cost of living and scarcity in the housing market, are staying at home for longer and longer. 

They are Generation Z, having grown up with a smartphone in their hands. 'Generation Z is hardworking, empowered, free, rational and intuitive, non-conformist and daring to ask the unusual questions,' or so I read on a website. Hmm. Yes, mine do indeed work hard: for school, training and part-time jobs. My trio is certainly not afraid to speak up either, but those unusual questions...? I don't know. As long as "What are we having for dinner tonight?" is at the top of the list, I don't really see it. 

After some domestic incidents involving (not) cleaning up messes lying around and (not) cleaning shower drains, bedrooms and a furnace after a session of pancake-baking-with-friends, I've had enough:
"Darn you guys! How do you even define 'clean'?"
My 16-year-old son, barely looking up from his smartphone, replies first: "...not dirty."
Yes, very witty. His sisters respond with an exceptionally empowered, "Yes, dûh..."

Yet it turns out to be an essential question; especially for the situation in a lot of food companies. Because where exactly is that line between clean, not dirty and dirty? When is clean 'clean enough'?   

And where does it go wrong, at least under my roof, I wonder. It's really not that I haven't taught my litter munchkins how to clean and tidy up. In desperation, I even put up 'protocols' in various places (clothes in the laundry basket, not next to it. Zip up before you throw anything in the wash, dishes in the dishwasher please ...). Yet my instructions are only scarcely followed. Apparently, the reality is that when you live at home it is SO easy to let go of all responsibility. Mum will clean, tidy up. Luckily, the stakes are not that high with me. At most some fury and fuss now and then. No controlling authority snapping my sticky children's fingers or fining them. 

How does that work in a factory? How do you make sure everyone stays sharp, and complies with cleaning and disinfection protocols? How do you keep your staff involved? I sympathise with you, it's not an easy task.

Judith Witte
[email protected]

Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie 2022