Reducing Contamination Risks of Compressed Air in Food Plants

The objective of this technical paper is to benchmark published Good Manufacturing Practices as they relate to compressed air use in a food processing facility in both a HACCP and/or Global Food Safety Initiative (SQF or BRC) environment.

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         Atmospheric contamination entering the compressor - Water Vapor - Micro-organisms - Atmospheric Dirt - Oil Vapor Contamination introduced by the compressor - Water Aerosols - Condensed Liquid Water - Liquid Oil - Oil Aerosols Contamination Introduced by the air receiver and distrbution piping - Rust - Pipe scale Total contamination entering the compressed air distribution system - Water Vapor - Micro-organisms - Atmospheric Dirt - Oil Vapor - Water Aerosols - Condensed Liquid Water - Liquid Oil - Oil Aerosols - Rust - Pipe scale Contaminant Source No. 1 Ambient Air Contaminant Source No. 2 The Air Compressor Contaminant Source No. 3 The Air Receiver Contaminant Source No. 4 The Distribution Piping Compressed Air System Sources of Contamination  o  o  o  o    o    o Code or Standard Verbiage relative to compressed air testing IFS, ISO, GRMS Compressed air is identified specifically as a potential risk to be evaluated and monitored as necessary. USDA & FDA (21CFR), 3-A, Compressed air monitoring is not specifically mentioned - it is implied by employing GMPs. BCAS, BRC, SQF Specific verbiage requiring test compressed air periodically. Good Manufacturing Practices - Compressed Air in Food Plant Dew Point Oil Removal Particulate Removal (includes microbiological particles) Efficiency Location of Filtration FDA Code of Federal Regulations Title 21CFR, Part 110.40 (g)¹ FDA Guidance RTE foods² 0.3 Micron FDA and the FSMA12 (Food Safety Modernization Act) 3-A Standard 604-05-3A³ Section: D6.6.1 Britsh Compressed Air Society (BCAS)4 Section 6 -40° F/C < 0.01 mg/m³ 0.1 - 0.5 Micron British Retail Consortium (BRC)9 Safe Quality Foods (SQF) 7.1 edition5. Section(s): 9.5.7; 10.5.7; 11.5.7; 13.5.4 SQF Guidance Document for Module 11 May 2013 0.01 Micron 99.999% Point of use International Featured Standards (IFS) version 6 6 . Section Global Red Meat Standard (GRMS)7 ISO 22000:20058 + Prerequisite Program (PRP) (like BSI PAS 220:200811) Most discriminating filtration standard: < 0.01 mg/m³ 0.01 Micron Point of Use-Contact: 99.999% Point of use = Not Specified = Most critical standard Compressed air used in the manufacturing process shall be clean and present no risk to food safety. Compressed air shall not pose a risk of contamination. Hazards relevant to food safety shall be controlled in critical control points (CCP) and/or by GMP measures. ISO22000:2005 := Prerequisite Programs should be in place to address supplies of air (Section 7.2.3.C) BSI PAS 220:2008 Section 6.5 := (Summarized) Compressed air systems shall be constructed and maintained so as to prevent contamination. Requirments for filtration, microbilogy, and humidity (RH%) shall be specified. Filtration of the air should be as close to the point of use as is practicable. Benchmarking of Compressed Air GMPs Compressed air or other gases mechanically introduced into food or used to clean food- contact surfaces or equipment shall be treated in such a way that food is not contaminated with unlawful indirect food additives. Point of use The FSMA does not introduce any specific regulations related to compressed air. It primarily requires companies under FDA jurisdiction to employ a risk-based (HACCP-like) food safety management scheme. Point of Use-Contact (sterile air): 99.999%10 All other: 99%10 Compressed air used directly in contact with the product shall be filtered. Compressed air at 100 psig contains 8 times the amount of bacteria and contaminants as atmospheric air Mesophilic Aerobic bacteria and fungi love the warm dark environment inside a compressed air system.    The 7 th edition, published July 2012, has added the following verbiage to Module 11: Good Manufacturing Practices for Processing of Food Products: 11.5.7 Air Quality  Compressed air used in the manufacturing process shall be clean and present no risk to food safety.  Compressed air used in the manufacturing process shall be regularly monitored for purity. Implementing the GMP’s and SSOP’s shown to the left will fulfill the requirements of the new A periodic test (based on empirically derived test intervals) to confirm the absence of contamination should be performed at all points in the system where air could contact the food. This will fulfill the requirements of SQF Certification Levels:  Level 1 The GMPs & SSOPs stated here will prepare the system design for future higher level certifications.  Level 2 The GMPs & SSOPs stated here are very good foundations for a solid Prerequisite Program to support a plant’s HACCP plan.  Level 3 The Prerequisites from Level 2 combined with a formalized air quality testing program will provide the highest level of confidence in a safe compressed air system.         Notes References 1 =1&subpartNode=21: 2 processinghaccp/ucm073110.htm 3 3A Standard 604-05 may be purchased at: 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 as measured by the Dioctylphthalate Fog Method (DOP) test - MIL-STD-282; method 102.9.1 11 12 13 Camfil-Farr Food Processing Industry application brochure 14 McLandsborough, Dr. Lynne A., PhD, Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Food Science Program, Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst Parker Hannifin Corporation Filtration and Separation Division 242 Neck Road Haverhill, MA 01835 Phone: 800 343 4048 or 978 858 0505 Fax: 978 478 2501