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Do we still need to do air purity tests if a HEPA filter is in place?

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#1 Spudslinger


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Posted 08 March 2019 - 03:21 PM

Our facility is planning on inserting a Air Knife that be directly contacting the product. It is intended to dry off the product after the flume. I understand that SQF requires air testing when product is being directly impacted, but is it still required if a HEPA filter is in place as well? A HEPA filter is built to filter out 99.7% of particles.

#2 Panos


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Posted 08 March 2019 - 06:46 PM

In my opinion yes because you need a verification that your HEPA filter is installed properly and operates effectively. But it also depends on what you are making (I am assuming that the air has direct contact with the product).

However here is an abstract for Air quality by the FDA (https://www.fda.gov/...m064458.htm#ch6)


3. Air Quality

Air inside a processing plant can be a vehicle for contamination of food by mold, yeast, dust, or pathogens if not properly controlled. Where fresh and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables are exposed to open air, we recommend that air quality be monitored to ensure that it is of suitable quality.

We also recommend that fresh-cut processors consider the following to maintain appropriate air quality:

  • Using positive, negative, and ambient air pressure differentials to direct potential airborne contaminants away from microbially sensitive areas. For example, negative air pressures in raw product areas, microbiology laboratories, and rest rooms may help to keep air from those areas from flowing into the processing areas. Similarly, positive air pressure can be maintained in areas such as the processing and packaging area.
  • If air filtering equipment is used in a fresh-cut processing facility, filters should be performing at manufacturer specified levels of performance
  • Filtering compressed air (such as oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N2), and carbon dioxide (CO2) used in modified atmospheric packaging) when such air contacts fresh produce using a 0.3 micron filter (with an efficiency of approximately 75%)

#3 SQFconsultant



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Posted 08 March 2019 - 07:30 PM

Yes, you need to do air testing even if you have installed a filter.

Unless of course you can figure out a way to conduct a risk assessment to show that testing is not needed, of course that would entail having to run air tests for a while to have a basis for submitting a risk assessment - kind of a sticky wicket.

Warm regards,



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#4 Charles.C


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Posted 08 March 2019 - 11:16 PM

For example -


9.5.6  Air Quality  Compressed  air  that  contacts  food  or  food  contact  surfaces  shall  be  clean  and  present  no  risk  to  food
safety;  Compressed air systems, and systems used to store or dispense other gases used in the manufacturing
process that come into contact with food or food contact surfaces shall be maintained and regularly monitored for
quality and applicable food safety hazards.


Kind Regards,



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