Specific risks in the food manufacturing industry
There are many serious types of human health hazards that can arise in food processing: Food-borne pathogens, microbes produced from spoilage, microbial allergens and food allergens, added to which we now have the major health threat of SARS-CoV- 2 (COVID-19).
Regarding COVID-19, food factories and abattoirs present some of the highest risk category of any sector, operation or interior environment. Chill and Cold-Storage do also when the air is a fully recirculated evaporator type system.
This increased risk is caused by a range of factors:
Food factories rely on permanently cooled air. COVID-19 has higher transmission rates in the 5-15°C temperature range. The air in chill stores, cold-stores and non-wash down areas can also be dehydrated because of the evaporator air cooling systems. Lower moisture presence in personnels’ respiratory tracts and nasal passages will make them more susceptible to infection.
Whilst there can be very dry air areas, water in the processes and for essential washdown in food manufacture and packing areas does the opposite, it raises the moisture content, leading to high levels of relative humidity. Food factories and cold stores, therefore, are usually outside the 40-60% relative humidity levels that coronavirus is less transmissible.
Factories, in the main, have the lowest amount of fresh air and the highest amount of recirculated air.
Busy works areas
Sites are packed with staff, often working closely in defined lines or spaces with that same, recirculated air.
High aerosol output
Breathing rate is elevated (by work), communication is often by shouting (because of noise), creating a high human aerosol level and hence, high viral load generation.
Therefore, these factors above are optimum surroundings for the microbes to breed, significantly increasing the infection risk inside food factories, making it one of the most hazardous or workplace environments concerning COVID-19 infection risk.
PP-L has some of, if not the world’s leading UV-C solutions for your food processing plants, amenity areas, cold stores and warehouses, to help you to mitigate the risk of a coronavirus outbreak.
Airborne, surface and waterborne microbes pose the biggest threat to employee health and safety. Importantly, microbes are able to become airborne at any point. By implementing our safe, simple and cost-effective disinfection technology, the risk of more common food pathogens and Covid transmission is drastically reduced.
Exceptional levels of air hygiene around the clock can be created with the use of our low-cost and efficient air disinfection and purification systems, coupled with surface sterilisation between shifts too on the process lines or in the labs.
For air disinfection, we recommend our UVR units. These extremely potent quad-tube devices that are Teflon coated can be used 24 hours a day in fully occupied spaces, thanks to unique protective grilles. This is a stainless steel corrosion-protected unit, IP65-69 rated, with a low-cost fan, delivering a volume flow of 700 m3/hour to help keep your operations safer and more productive.
As professional engineers, scientists and medics, we know intimately how to target the infection risks by designing bespoke solutions, combining established and proven engineering and health technologies, to take your biosafety to a new level. You can implement these solutions to offer protection during goods arrival, processing, packaging, storage and departure.
Our solutions have been proven over decades in high-risk applications against all common microbial hazards in this sector AND against COVID-19. Our products have 80 years infection intervention deployment to help protect the food industry and uniquely, helped reduce coronavirus infections in Singapore and Hong Kong hospitals and other important buildings during the first SARS (Covid) pandemic in 2003.
Areas where UV-C can help to protect air from pathogens
- Production zones
- Packaging zones
- Ripening rooms
- Cooling & cold storage areas
- Rooms with higher humidity <40% and >60%
- Changing rooms and toilets
- Offices and canteens (Our Medical Grade Portable Filters work well here too)
We also have a range of surface solutions to disinfect process lines, equipment, instruments and indeed, we have invented solutions that lengthen the shelf-life of cheese, bread and meat.