A deeper look into why it is essential for food and beverage producers to maintain clean, filtered air in the various stages of food and beverage production.
The importance of air filtration in the food industry
While strolling down the various aisles in their local supermarkets, most people have not considered what it truly takes to produce – from start to finish – the items they casually load into you shopping cart while they tick off the items on their shopping lists.
Now we are not referring to the ingredients and nutrient quality of your products of choice. Rather, the clean air that is required throughout the stages of production, from manufacturing to packaging. It really doesn’t matter what kind of food or beverage is being produced, clean air is a crucial component to the production facility as well as the end product.
Those who make their living in food production understand that maintaining a contaminant-free, dust-free environment throughout the stages of production significantly reduces the risk of contamination to the product, as the presence of any kind of pollutant in the production or bottling stage poses the risk of not only compromising the quality of the product, but the reputation of the brand as well. Ultimately, reputational damage and product loss due to contamination could jointly cost companies a lot of money.
It is therefore extremely important to ensure that the air filtration system in a food or beverage production facility is maintained and complies with industry standards. Air filtration is a very effective way to enhance the air quality in a facility. At Vivid Air we provide cleanroom installations with HEPA filters that will guarantee air quality is monitored and controlled to maintain the immaculate hygiene conditions required for manufacturing in the food industry.
Although most frequently associated with the medical and pharmaceutical industries, Cleanrooms are also used in advanced manufacturing, where limiting contamination is crucial. Contamination can be either viable (for example, bacteria, microbes or viruses) or it can be present in the form of non-viable particles (for example, metals, organic and inorganic compounds, pollution, or dust mites).
HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are known to successfully remove 99.97% - 99.99% of airborne particles of around 0.3 microns in size. This includes dust, pollen, mould, bacteria and just about any airborne particles. Unlike the regular air filters that are used in and around the home, a HEPA filter is a pleated mechanical air filter that catches the air particulates. The pleats create a dense array of randomly arranged fibres inside the HEPA filter, which aid it in catching particles of various sizes.
A manufacturing plant or production facility can become easily contaminated by people, materials and equipment, or by other contaminants found outside of the facility. Clean rooms make it possible to lower the risk of the contamination of food and their packaging by means of using reduced ai and waterborne dust and micro-organisms, in conjunction with a hygienic environment in which a low level of particulates is controlled.
The air filtration process is successful because HEPA filters are factory tested for efficiency against 0.3 micron sized particles. This is the particle size most difficult to trap, also called Most Penetrating Particle Size ( MPPS) however, they are actually better at catching the smaller particles, for example particles such as those found in viruses, which are typically 0.1 microns in size. Air filters create a kind of protective shield between food and microbiological cross-contamination that is derived from bacteria, mould, viruses, dust mites and dry ingredients. Air filtration provides an increased resistance to contamination at the source.
There are 5 key benefits of high-efficiency air filtration in the food industry:
- It helps companies remain compliant with food safety standards.
- It helps facilities to gain operational efficiency, cutting both production downtime and product loss.
- It helps to safeguard employees’ health and general well-being.
- It helps to enhance the customer’s overall food experience.
- It helps to extend a product’s shelf life, helping companies produce reputable and reliable products that will contribute to a more positive brand image and reputation.
In addition to removing airborne contaminants and providing a consistent airflow throughout the facility, an air filter is also expected to have a large dust holding capacity. High-efficiency filters are designed to do exactly that. A common issue in food production is that companies are often limited in their ability to upgrade air filtration systems for various reasons that include the size of the production facility or the design of HVAC units. This is why standalone HEPA air cleaners are a good alternative to supplement existing systems in high-risk areas within the production facility.
Air filtration will benefit any food production or bottle manufacturing facility by creating dust-free environments that will reduce cross-contamination, protecting product quality and providing overall air quality improvement.
Vivid Air is a leading provider of clean air solutions, offering a variety of air filtration products and services to assist with the various air cleaning requirements of our clients within, but not limited to, the food and beverage industry.