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Risk Assessing Positive Air pressure


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#1 trubertq

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 11:23 AM

Good Morning all,

 

I have been tasked to risk assess the requirement for positive air pressure in a specific  high risk processing area of a site.

 

It is currently segregated with a designated changing room.

There is only one entry and exit which is through this room.

The Cookers are dual opening ( product is put in in low risk and removed in high risk)

Only one door may be opened at a time.

The door opens into a chill area which is separated from the packing area by a door.

 

I'm just wondering where to start.

 

My instinct is to start with air sampling, but this is a small company and costs are important so I don't want to spend money needlessly.

 

They are not BRC certified, otherwise this would be a moot point.

 

It has come up in a discussion.


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#2 Slab

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 01:40 PM

My first question is, how effectively is your steam in cook and chill area managed? Do you have persistent condensate? If so, then this is a huge risk to food safety. Second, what is the source of your makeup air supply? 


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#3 trubertq

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 03:16 PM

No steam used at all , dry heat.

 

It's a hot smoked fish process. 

 

There is no air conditioning of any kind. 

 

That's why I want to risk assess.

 

Whate criteria should I be looking at?


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#4 Slab

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 12:54 PM

Then I can assume your makeup air is from normal movement of outside air, then I would simply check air for yeast and molds by settle plate method (or whatever microorganisms you deem a hazard). Make sure fans, vents, air handlers, etc are running and expose plates for a length of time equivalent to product exposure time in same conditions. Your normal EMP screening would also add to this verification, as well as construction of the facility to mitigate unwanted odors, smoke, steam, etc.

 

I did a similar method to bypass positive air for a high risk RTE plant for SQF certification.


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#5 trubertq

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 03:59 PM

Thanks Slab,

 

That was my intention, along with current environmental testing and product testing.

 

What would you think about an air curtain at the door?

 

I also need advice on the best way to ensure the dual-doored ovens are only opened from one side at a time. This is currently controlled by process scheduling in that the team that fills the cookers on the low risk side are also the team that empties them. This is not acceptable to the customer so I need to find a solution for two old cookers that were second hand when Methulsela was on the earth.


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#6 Slab

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 05:50 PM

 

What would you think about an air curtain at the door?

 

 

Would you have any confidence in the hygiene of the air? What measures would you take to ensure that this device won't be a potential source of contamination?

 

Normally these devices are designed with flying pests in mind, but I wouldn't rule out a design for microorganism. 

 

I also need advice on the best way to ensure the dual-doored ovens are only opened from one side at a time. This is currently controlled by process scheduling in that the team that fills the cookers on the low risk side are also the team that empties them. This is not acceptable to the customer so I need to find a solution for two old cookers that were second hand when Methulsela was on the earth.

 

 

 

Is this a continuous feed or a batch method? The differences may not matter honestly... I would have to see your equipment and process. I had a timer and alarm relays wired to a recorder for batch cooking at my last employer. It wasn't cheap (maybe $4,000 USD installed and programmed) but it did what I needed and satisfied 3rd party scrutiny. 

 

You could add an interlock feature on the doors in which if one end is opened the other latching mechanism is locked-out. Any electronics company with experience in timing controls shouldn't have a problem installing this.  Pair the timer with a horn/alarm and flashy lights!


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#7 Charles.C

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Posted 21 November 2020 - 04:56 AM

Assuming micro is acceptable, why not "simply" install air-conditioning ?  (typical in tropics although I suppose there is, relatively, substantial mitigation from your local environment).

 

AC cost relates to things like existing compressor installation-fluid type / room dimensions / off-peak potentials. (The typical risk is under-estimation of  equipment power requirements).

 

In a recent thread here, I noted from a reference text that only a minimal positive pressure is necessary.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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