The International Food Safety & Quality Network (IFSQN) and Trace Analytics LLC detail the process involved with testing particles, water, and oil in compressed air or compressed gas. If SQF, BRC, FSSC 22000 and PrimusGFS schemes require monitoring, but do not establish purity limits, nor do they provide guidance on how to accomplish this requirement, how should you go about complying with the requirements for routine monitoring of compressed air?
What are the potential contaminants in compressed air at your facility?
Where to Sample
- Sampling location varies depending upon whether you’re testing to meet routine requirements or if you’re troubleshooting a problem.
- After point-of-use (POU) filters for routine monitoring
- Critical control points
A monitoring plan can verify that your compressed air quality is in a state of control and will not contaminate your product. Typical ambient air contains millions of inert particles, 5-25 grams of water, 1-5 micrograms of oil, and tens to hundreds of bacteria per cubic meter. The odds of contamination entering your system are against you from the beginning.
Perform a risk assessment to identify your specific areas of concern and to determine what to test for
- Determine frequency of testing
- Identify the number of sampling points
- Define the acceptable purity limits
Another method used to determine these factors is the performance of baseline analyses. You can establish a baseline using ISO 8573-1:2010 (particles, water, and oil) purity limits at various points throughout your facility.