Food Grade Air Quality
During the production, processing, handling, packaging and transporting of food at all stages from source to consumer, the safety of the food may become compromised and then subject to a recall.
One source of possible contamination is when compressed air is used in conjunction with the food chain. Contaminants commonly associated with compressed air are categorised in the form of dirt (solid particles), water (as humidity) and oil. Other influences are the presence of microbiological organisms such as bacteria which may be transported through a compressed air system or propagated due to the conditions existing in a compressed air system.
Contaminants that may be a potential hazard in food for human consumption need to be subject to control as a lack of control could result in a potential prosecution.
Compressed air may come into direct or indirect contact with food.
Where compressed air comes into direct contact with food, in particular during production or processing, this requires a much higher level of contaminant control and particular attention needs to be placed on contaminants added during the compression and the distribution process. e.g. bread packing, fluidised bed in the transfer of flour from a tanker etc.
Due to the variations in design of compressors some require oil in the compression stage and some do not.
For food production where the compressed air comes into direct contact the amounts of oil present and type of oil allowed shall be strictly controlled. Some food producers have internal requirements where no oil is allowed to come into contact with food.
Maintenance is a key element in ensuring that the compressor(s) and other equipment retain acceptable operating conditions. The controls applied to all types of contaminants may either be a customer requirement or one set by regional or national legislation.
The code will contribute to the process involved with the legal requirement in Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles which the food manufacturer is required to perform and is widely used in food and beverage production and processing. These principles are designed to ensure the quality of the final product by identifying potential contamination areas, known as Critical Control Points (CCP’s) and implementing rectification and monitoring procedures.
Recommendations are set for compressors and associated equipment in terms of their location, air intake, ventilation and maintenance.
This code sets out the minimum recommendation for compressed air quality in new installations. Consideration has been given into the potential contamination issues surrounding compressed air and details acceptable measuring methods for testing the air quality.
If you require further information please do not hesitate to contact us. You can also arrange a free initial site audit where all aspects of your system will be discussed in greater detail to allow us discuss any upgrade in technology required to meet your air quality standards.