ISO 8573-7:2003 is an excellent source for establishing sampling methods although it does not provide compressed air microbial limits. On the subject of microbial contamination in compressed air used in food plants, “Drying the air to a low dew point is an effective way to inhibit this microbial growth. Inhibit – not kill”, is what Parker Hannifin’s Lee Scott has to say. Read more from Lee Scott on Reducing Contamination Risks of Compressed Air in Food Plants: Benchmarking Good Manufacturing Practices.
The BCAS Food Grade Compressed Air, A Code of Practice states, “6.2 Microbiological contaminants HACCP shall establish the risk of contamination by microbiological contaminants. The level of viable microbiological contaminants in the compressed air shall not be detectable using the method described in clause 7.6.” Clause 7.6 refers to ISO 8573-7 test method for viable microbiological contaminant content.
The SQF Code, Edition 8 states in summary, the quality of air and other gases (e.g. nitrogen, carbon dioxide) that contacts animal feed, pet food, pre-processing of animal and plant products, and human food, and their respective contact surfaces “shall be clean and present no risk to food safety.” Additionally, the compressed air systems, and systems used to store or dispense other gases used in the manufacturing process that come into contact with said contact surfaces “shall be maintained and regularly monitored for quality and applicable feed safety hazards.” On their website they go on to say, “Food processing facilities need to operate from a fundamental assumption that compressed air can be a source of chemical and microbiological contamination. Food facilities must verify and validate the compressed air used in their facility is appropriate for use and not a source of contamination.” Read more on air purity testing from SQF.
Trace Analytics offers the AirCheck✓ Kit™ KX00 Microbial Impaction Sampler in addition to offering the AirCheck✓ Kit™ K810 and K811 models for the testing of particles, water, oil, and gases, in compressed air and process gases.
All AirCheck✓ Kits™ are available for rent or purchase. For more information about compressed air quality testing for the manufacturing industry, contact us today. We are happy to discuss your needs and assist you with testing for your operation.