New guide to safe use of compressed air

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

The guide is designed to help food and drink manufacturers make informed decisions about compressed air
The guide is designed to help food and drink manufacturers make informed decisions about compressed air

Related tags: Hygiene

A new practice guide for food and drink processors on the safe and efficient use of compressed air has been unveiled by the British Compressed Air Society (BCAS).Prepared with the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standards, the guide is designed to help processors make informed decisions about compressor systems operating at a pressure greater than 0.5 bar.

It includes information on what type of compressed air equipment could be used, how it should be installed, maintained and audited and, perhaps most importantly, the levels of air purity needed to cut contamination risk.

Compressed air is used for a diverse range of operations – from powering pneumatics, process and automation equipment, to moving, mixing and blending ingredients. However, its use, especially in areas where it can come into direct or indirect contact with production equipment, ingredients, finished products or packaging, should be carefully controlled, to prevent the risk of contamination.

Major changes

The new guidelines supersede BCAS's Food Grade Code of Practice, which was issued in 2007. One of the major changes is the increased focus on compressed air as part of a pre-requisite programme (PRP), rather than within the hazard analysis critical control point (HACCP) activity.

A PRP addresses basic operational conditions, such as good hygiene practices, and is considered essential in establishing a sound foundation prior to the application of HACCP or other food safety management systems.

David Brackston, technical director for food schemes at BRC Global Standards, said: "This provides a valuable resource for engineers and technical managers when assessing the risks associated with compressed air systems in the food industry and provides essential guidance to help manage these risks."

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