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Indoor Air Quality expected in Food Packaging Manufacture

STANDARDS

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#1 tak4all

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 05:23 AM

WHAT ARE THE INDOOR AIR QUALITY STANDARDS FOR MICROBES WITH RESPECT TO MANUFACTURING OF FOOD PACKAGING?


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#2 fgjuadi

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 10:29 AM

It depends on the food - are you making baby formula and raw meat?  Or are you packaging something raw from a field to use sell as bulk raw ingredients?  Is there a standard you're trying to meet?


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#3 Markcra

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 05:06 AM

Good question. I would like to know myself if there are any published standards for microbial levels in air for packaging manufacture.

 

I have been working with a client implementing PAS223 for packaging. The following section of the standards deals with air quality.

 

6.3 Air quality and ventilation
The organization shall establish requirements for air used for direct packaging contact and shall monitor accordingly.
Suitable and sufficient ventilation (natural or mechanical) shall be provided to remove excess or unwanted steam, dust and odours.
Room air supply quality shall be controlled to minimize risk from airborne microbiological contamination, as applicable to the packaging type.
NOTE Packaging such as paper and board could potentially support microbiological growth if appropriate
controls are not in place.
Ventilation systems shall be designed and constructed such that air does not flow from contaminated areas to clean areas. Systems shall be accessible for cleaning, filter changing and maintenance.
Exterior air intake ports shall be examined periodically for physical integrity
 
In my client's HACCP system I have established the requirement for air quality to be free of dust, smoke, mist, haze and no odours. . The air quality is monitored visually and by smell as part of the monthly hygiene audit. I have not gone down the path of measuring the microbial level of the air, as I don't believe that the is a requirement of the standard. The controls used to minimize airborne microbial growth in my client's case is by use of air conditioning filters and regular maintenance.
 
Regards
 
Mark

Edited by Markcra, 15 March 2014 - 05:11 AM.

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#4 Simon

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 07:56 AM

Of course you should have a clean factory (floor to ceiling) and not leave doors open etc., but in general you do not need filtered air unless the packaging is meant to be aseptic or the customer demands (if big enough) positive air pressure or clean room conditions.  In my experience and advice I would say intermittent micro audits are essential to demonstrate that further air controls are not necessary.  As well as swabbing of hands, materials, works surfaces etc. this would include putting down settle plates to establish TVC, Yeast and Mould levels in each work area.


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#5 Charles.C

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Posted 15 March 2014 - 10:16 AM

Dear markcra,

 

I suppose there is “air” and “compressed air”.

 

As per previous post, it  presumably can  depend on what you are producing, standard, location (?), etc. I daresay you are speculating with regard to fssc22000.

PAS223 seems to have much higher ambitions / expectations than other food packaging standards such as brc, sqf. More akin to the food sector perhaps.

Maybe if it contacts food, this is not a totally unreasonable request. ? :smile:

 

related PAS223 threads here, (plus sqf food [3rd one] for comparison)–

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...-64/#entry61161

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...ted/#entry61224

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...ion/#entry63923

 

BRC packaging has low/high risk standards. But air requirements seem fairly similar from a quick look.

SQF seems to generalise this category (27)  as Low Risk regardless. Rather surprising  perhaps considering their food related demands.

 

A few examples –

 

Water filters must be maintained regularly inspected and compressed air supplies must be filtered and maintained to ensure a supply of dry contaminant free air.

 

(sqf - food packaging guidance 2010 )

 

13.5.4.1   Compressed air that contacts packaging products shall be clean and present no risk to food safety; 13.5.4.2   Compressed air systems used in the manufacturing process shall be maintained and regularly monitored for purity.

 

(SQF - Module  13: GMP for production of food packaging - indicated "Low Risk")

 

BRC seem  not significantly different to SQF.

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

A sort of trite response is that specific filtration units are engineered for a given output quality. So some pseudo-micro.sampling should at least demonstrate a basic capability where equipment exists.

It would be interesting to have another poll on how many packaging companies have filtered air. Perhaps there is even a poll already here ? :smile:  Just 1 ?


Edited by Charles.C, 16 March 2014 - 10:24 AM.
corrected 1st link

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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#6 Markcra

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 04:34 AM

Dear markcra,

 

I suppose there is “air” and “compressed air”.

 

As per previous post, it  presumably can  depend on what you are producing, standard, location (?), etc. I daresay you are speculating with regard to fssc22000.

PAS223 seems to have much higher ambitions / expectations than other food packaging standards such as brc, sqf. More akin to the food sector perhaps.

Maybe if it contacts food, this is not a totally unreasonable request. ? :smile:

 

Some related PAS223 threads here, (plus sqf food [3rd one] for comparison)–

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...ure/#entry70075

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...ted/#entry61224

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...ion/#entry63923

 

BRC packaging has low/high risk standards. But air requirements seem fairly similar from a quick look.

SQF seems to generalise this category (27)  as Low Risk regardless. Rather surprising  perhaps considering their food related demands.

 

A few examples –

 

(sqf - food packaging guidance 2010 )

 

(SQF - Module  13: GMP for production of food packaging - indicated "Low Risk")

 

BRC seem  not significantly different to SQF.

 

Rgds / Charles.C

 

A sort of trite response is that specific filtration units are engineered for a given output quality. So some pseudo-micro.sampling should at least demonstrate a basic capability where equipment exists.

It would be interesting to have another poll on how many packaging companies have filtered air. Perhaps there is even a poll already here ? :smile:  Just 1 ?

 

Thanks Charles

 

Yes, my client was implementing FSSC 22000 and my response was just concerning the factory air, not compressed air. So my concern that whilst it may be reasonable to sample air quality for micro levels, but I don't read this as a must do in the standard and I don't agree that auditors can say that it is a requirement, looking at section 6.3 of PAS223.

 

The problem with micro testing of air that it raises the following questions in my mind and I don't have satisfactory answers

 

What is a satisfactory micro level of air in the packaging environment? 

 

Who determines the safe levels and are there any published guidelines?

 

Is there a standard method for air sampling? If using an agar plate how long do you leave it out? How does the level equate with contaminating the packaging?

 

What does a manufacturing plant do if the levels on one test are higher?

 

What is the relationship between mico levels in the air and the packaging surface? How are microbes transferred to the packaging from the air?

 

What about the air surrounding the packaging during storage, transport and final transfer to the customer's factory? Why is this not required to be monitored?

 

I would be interested to know what other packaging plants do and what sort of microbial levels are being detected.

 

If I was undertaking micro testing, I would test the final packaging as a verification only.

 

Regards

 

Mark


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#7 Charles.C

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 11:27 AM

Dear Markcra,

 

Packaging not my direct field so corrections to comments below from the aficionados no problem.

 

You have so far included few details about yr product / process, this might assist the experts.

 

I assume direct food contact.

 

For packaging, I fear most or yr queries are either unavailable or unspecifiable without more context (the PAS standard is probably implying a similar conclusion  :smile:  ).

(Note that the links in my previous post do include some actual (non-packaging) responses to similar requests which were apparently auditor-acceptable. Most of them appear "home-made".)

 

I hypothesise that food / compressed air may represent  nearest equivalents to yr post, eg minimum/maximum requirements as appropriate, such references where used below are preceded by #.

 

(1) What is a satisfactory micro level of air in the packaging environment? 

 # see cp2 and surrounding/preceding text

http://www.ifsqn.com...ge-2#entry64124.

 

 (2) Who determines the safe levels and are there any published guidelines?

# See (1) above.

 

(3) Is there a standard method for air sampling? If using an agar plate how long do you leave it out? How does the level equate with contaminating the packaging?

# Probably ISO, see previously posted references  // see the actual procedures. //  probably unknown.

 

(4) What does a manufacturing plant do if the levels on one test are higher?

more context required.

 

(5) What is the relationship between mico levels in the air and the packaging surface? How are microbes transferred to the packaging from the air?

 

more context required.

 

(6) What about the air surrounding the packaging during storage, transport and final transfer to the customer's factory? Why is this not required to be monitored?

more context required.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


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Charles.C


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#8 Markcra

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 09:08 PM

Thanks Charles for putting together all the information. Perhaps tak4all can provide more details.

 

Mark


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#9 tak4all

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 11:10 AM

 

Good question. I would like to know myself if there are any published standards for microbial levels in air for packaging manufacture.

 

I have been working with a client implementing PAS223 for packaging. The following section of the standards deals with air quality.

 

6.3 Air quality and ventilation
The organization shall establish requirements for air used for direct packaging contact and shall monitor accordingly.
Suitable and sufficient ventilation (natural or mechanical) shall be provided to remove excess or unwanted steam, dust and odours.
Room air supply quality shall be controlled to minimize risk from airborne microbiological contamination, as applicable to the packaging type.
NOTE Packaging such as paper and board could potentially support microbiological growth if appropriate
controls are not in place.
Ventilation systems shall be designed and constructed such that air does not flow from contaminated areas to clean areas. Systems shall be accessible for cleaning, filter changing and maintenance.
Exterior air intake ports shall be examined periodically for physical integrity
 
In my client's HACCP system I have established the requirement for air quality to be free of dust, smoke, mist, haze and no odours. . The air quality is monitored visually and by smell as part of the monthly hygiene audit. I have not gone down the path of measuring the microbial level of the air, as I don't believe that the is a requirement of the standard. The controls used to minimize airborne microbial growth in my client's case is by use of air conditioning filters and regular maintenance.
 
Regards
 
Mark

 

Thank you Mark. I am sorry for attending late. We are monitoring aerobiological counts of air especially surrounding machines meant for the manufacturing of food packaging like ice cream cups, disposable plates etc. Microbial count measured by petri dish method varies each time we conduct the test. However we are more concerned with certain microbes especially enterobacteriaece group. But we are interested in other bacteria & fungus also to improve the hygiene further. Therefore we want the standard for comparison.


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#10 Charles.C

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 11:36 AM

Thank you Mark. I am sorry for attending late. We are monitoring aerobiological counts of air especially surrounding machines meant for the manufacturing of food packaging like ice cream cups, disposable plates etc. Microbial count measured by petri dish method varies each time we conduct the test. However we are more concerned with certain microbes especially enterobacteriaece group. But we are interested in other bacteria & fungus also to improve the hygiene further. Therefore we want the standard for comparison.

Dear tak4all,

 

So what microbiological acceptance limits for XYZ are you currently using ?

 

Rgds / Charles.C


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#11 Markcra

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Posted 18 March 2014 - 03:10 AM

Hi take4all

 

This is a summary of the conclusion in one of the papers that Charles referenced.

 

Total viable counts can range from 101-10/m3 and yeasts and moulds can range from 10-10/m3 in different food factories
and even for RTE high risk environments, the count in the high risk area can be similar to that outside the factory.
 
Mark

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