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Biological Hazard from Air

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#1 Mesha

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 07:43 AM

Hi All,

 

I had a discussion with a consultant on the risk of contamination to my product ( water activity less than 0.5/0.6 )from air-borne microbes in an air-conditioned room (22deg / 35-40 RH) which is being used for conditioning the product for a duration of 6 hours. :uhm:

 

He was of the view that our HACCP study must include this as potential hazard and we should install means to reduce/prevent it.

 

In my opinion, this is not a hazard for us as the microbes would adhere to the minute dust particles which remain in suspended state, and since the air is in continuous motion they would not settle down on the product. In addition to this our product does not support microbial growth due to its low water activity and high sugar recipe. :rock:

 

Moreover, we are not looking for sterile conditions that I get HEPA or UV-lamps installed in the throw of ACs.

 

I did not get any clarification on my point of view, neither did I get any advice on preventing the risk ! But a cold shoulder reply that if I get an "NC" then he would not be responsible ! :shutup:

 

Seeking expert point of views to understand this requirement well !!


Regards,

 


#2 Charles.C

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 10:55 AM

Hi All,

 

I had a discussion with a consultant on the risk of contamination to my product ( water activity less than 0.5/0.6 )from air-borne microbes in an air-conditioned room (22deg / 35-40 RH) which is being used for conditioning the product for a duration of 6 hours. :uhm:

 

He was of the view that our HACCP study must include this as potential hazard and we should install means to reduce/prevent it.

 

In my opinion, this is not a hazard for us as the microbes would adhere to the minute dust particles which remain in suspended state, and since the air is in continuous motion they would not settle down on the product. In addition to this our product does not support microbial growth due to its low water activity and high sugar recipe. :rock:

 

Moreover, we are not looking for sterile conditions that I get HEPA or UV-lamps installed in the throw of ACs.

 

I did not get any clarification on my point of view, neither did I get any advice on preventing the risk ! But a cold shoulder reply that if I get an "NC" then he would not be responsible ! :shutup:

 

Seeking expert point of views to understand this requirement well !!

Dear Meena,

 

You omitted to mention what product/process you/yr auditor are referring. I assume the standard is ISO (FSSC?) 22000.

 

Air quality / compressed air quality  is a common topic in certain FS standards if you look at recent discussions here.

 

This thread/sub-links may  give you some idea of the general situation.

 

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

 

Maybe yr auditor was extrapolating the iso prerequisites list (eg section 6.4 of iso 22002-1) in advance or for some specific reason related to the process. Note that contamination does not always demand microbial growth.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Mesha

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 11:17 AM

This concern was raised for a small room where we leave our confectionery product for conditioning in open trays at controlled conditions. He raised this as a possible microbial hazard from the cool air released in the room from AC ducts of AHU.

 

Regards


Regards,

 


#4 Charles.C

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Posted 31 March 2014 - 02:47 PM

This concern was raised for a small room where we leave our confectionery product for conditioning in open trays at controlled conditions. He raised this as a possible microbial hazard from the cool air released in the room from AC ducts of AHU.

 

Regards

 

The organization shall establish requirements for filtration, humidity (RH%) and microbiology of air used as an ingredient or for direct product contact. Room air supply quality shall be controlled to minimize risk from airborne microbiological contamination. Protocols for air quality monitoring and control shall be established in areas where products which support the growth or survival of microorganisms are exposed.

 

Ventilation systems shall be designed and constructed such that air does not flow from contaminated or raw areas to clean areas. Specified air pressure differentials shall be maintained. Systems shall be accessible for cleaning, filter changing and maintenance.

 

 

I assume AHU = Air Handling Unit.

I assume this is RTE product which ups the status level.

 

Maybe expectation depends on process but  text obviously has the potential for a response requirement. (Not an iso user myself). Don't offhand recall other iso 22000 food posters mentioning it queried though. From memory, BRC would be interested in input filter, SQF seems more focused on compressed air.

 

Possibly  the consultant saw something specific which triggered his comment. Air source/history ? Audit experience ? Whatever, I agree he should have elaborated. Especially if you were paying him. :smile:

 

Any iso 22000 users around ?

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#5 jayakrish

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Posted 03 April 2014 - 03:00 AM

Hello,

 

Hazard analysis does include the chances of cross contamination from the environment and that includes the quality of air. One can not predict the microbiological quality of air in the process environment all the time without continous monitoring of its quality - which is very difficult.  It is a good analysis that the air microbiological quality is addressed to. As the product is confectionary, any absorption of moisture on the surface would immediately trigger the on set of both physical and microbiological damage to the confectionary. A good filter on the line, UV light in the air inlet area, periodic fumigation of area and proper monitoring of microbiological quality of th environment would avoid cross contamination of the product with any pathogens from outside. This is from my experience both as a Food Safety consultant and as well as ISO MR in 22K.



#6 Tony-C

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:11 AM

Hi All,

 

I had a discussion with a consultant on the risk of contamination to my product ( water activity less than 0.5/0.6 )from air-borne microbes in an air-conditioned room (22deg / 35-40 RH) which is being used for conditioning the product for a duration of 6 hours. :uhm:

 

He was of the view that our HACCP study must include this as potential hazard and we should install means to reduce/prevent it.

 

In my opinion, this is not a hazard for us as the microbes would adhere to the minute dust particles which remain in suspended state, and since the air is in continuous motion they would not settle down on the product. In addition to this our product does not support microbial growth due to its low water activity and high sugar recipe. :rock:

 

Moreover, we are not looking for sterile conditions that I get HEPA or UV-lamps installed in the throw of ACs.

 

I did not get any clarification on my point of view, neither did I get any advice on preventing the risk ! But a cold shoulder reply that if I get an "NC" then he would not be responsible ! :shutup:

 

Seeking expert point of views to understand this requirement well !!

 

Start with 6 hour exposure plates to assess the level of possible contamination, then you will have a better understanding of the hazards.

 

I assume that you already analyse your products and have not seen any contamination?

 

Regards,

 

Tony



#7 mesophile

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 11:20 AM

Hi,

 

Why not stick a few open agar plates around in the room to check for air quality. If you get these lab tested they will show you what your current air quality is like, then you can decide on future courses of action. 

 

Your consultant should have recommended you do this anyway particularly with open exposed food products.

 

Thanks

 

Simon



#8 Mesha

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 04:09 AM

Thanks to all you.

 

With the input of experts I realize that I need to have an air quality monitoring mechanism in place irrespective of the nature of my product.

 

I was trying to reason that if my plant does not deal in fruits, vegetables, meat egg, milk, chocolates etc...and I am manufacturing a sugar based dry confectionery/candy type product with controlled temperature & humidity conditions (less for product safety but more for its quality); do I still need to have mechanisms to ensure near sterility conditions (HEPA/UV etc) ?

 

I have seen cookies/biscuits etc up for sale in stores kept for a week in enclosures which I am sure must not be equipped with microbial filters/control devices. Then How come my product which needs conditioning only for 4-6 hrs need such filters !! Pls correct me if I am wrong.

 

Regards,

Meena


Regards,

 


#9 Charles.C

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 05:02 AM

Dear Meena,

 

Just as a reality check,

 

How often do you sanitize yr hands when you enter your kitchen ? :biggrin:

(Or perhaps you always eat out )

 

At least you will (probably) be supporting the local filter industry, maybe single-handedly.

 

Rgds / Charles.C


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#10 Mesha

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 07:31 AM

Hi Charles,

 

Good question !! :spoton:

 

We don't sanitize but wash properly hands as well as raw materials!

 

Probably we are satisfied with our own hygiene levels when we or our family are the consumers. No SOPs but system set in our mind to procure grocery carefully, store properly , wash before cooking, clean plates etc etc...over cautious when consumers other than us (guests) on board !

 

Similarly here in my factory I am probably going by our own satisfaction levels (reached by sample testing, no complaints, SSPO, GMP etc  etc) that specialized filters (to prevent microbial contamination) are not required !!

 

Pls forgive if I am being too nagging or replying irrelevantly :lol2:

 

Regards,

Meena


Regards,

 






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