Don't miss a thing – Subscribe to our newsletter

Join a growing number of businesses flying the flag for clean air.

Find out how clean air can work for you

Leave your details below and one of our experts will call you back.


Cutting airborne contamination at food and beverage facilities


Written by Zehnder Clean Air Solutions | 22.09.2020

Benefits of clean air Effects of dust Industries we work with Start with clean air

Don't miss a thing – Subscribe to our newsletter

Join a growing number of businesses flying the flag for clean air.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter

We love sharing our knowledge about clean air. To complete your registration, please click the confirmation link in the e-mail we have sent to you.

Find out how clean air can work for you

Leave your details below and one of our experts will call you back.

Thank you for reaching out to us

Our sales team will be in touch as soon as possible.

About food safety

Anyone who works in the food and beverage sector is also a consumer, so they know better than anyone about the importance of guaranteeing safe, uncontaminated products. With many strict regulations concerning food safety, this is the goal for the entire industry, and it’s entirely possible to alleviate the hazards of dust in the workplace through a few simple measures.

Types of contamination

The food and beverage industry is complex, requiring companies to juggle production and storage, keeping up with market preferences, and food safety regulations. One particularly important consideration is contamination, which can have serious legal and financial consequences.

Contamination can happen at any stage of production and can be split into three main categories:

Food products wrapped with crime scene tape due to HACCP non-compliance

This form of contamination is particularly insidious because it can happen at almost any stage of food and beverage processing. It’s hard to detect, so prevention is crucial. Even when taking common-sense precautions, food dust particles can easily spread between products. These particles, which vary in size and can be invisible to the naked eye, often include dust from grains, cereals, eggshells, or shellfish, and powders such as spices, sugar, corn starch, and flour.

It's most common to see cross-contamination during the production phase, and in facilities manufacturing multiple products.

Non-food particles, such as dust and plant spores, can enter the facility and get in contact with the product. It is common to see particle contamination during production or packaging. In addition to risking contamination, other hazards of dust in the workplace can include poor employee health and more frequent issues with machinery.

As the name suggests, this involves microbes such as bacteria and mould spores contaminating the product. Microbial contamination occurs most frequently when employees handle the product. Workers who fail to use appropriate protective gear or to maintain personal hygiene pose the largest risk.

The challenge

Food safety is critical: in the most extreme cases, poor food safety procedures can result in illness and even death, not to mention the reputational and financial damage to the company.

For facilities which manufacture both general products and allergen-free or gluten-free products, contamination poses a particularly significant challenge. 

Food particles can spread through the air and accumulate on processing equipment, jeopardising the safety of sensitive food products.

Beyond contamination, there are plenty of other hazards of dust in the workplace. From sick or unhygienic employees to improperly cleaned equipment, it’s clear that keeping the air particle-free needs to be a high priority.

Air cleaning system absorbing particles to ensure HACCP compliance in food production

The solutions

Fortunately, there are a number of steps that food and beverage manufacturing facilities can take to reduce the risk of contamination.

Regular testing, for instance can identify contamination early and allow the facility to find and resolve the problem quickly. Testing can take place on incoming ingredients, production components, finished batches of product to ensure that no contamination has taken place. Specifications should also be established for every step so that test results have a meaningful benchmark to measure against.

The design of the facility is also important to reducing the risk of contamination. Facilities which lack drainage or restrict airflow can cause particulate matter to spread, as can inappropriate temperature and pressure management. It’s also important that surfaces are smooth and simple to clean, so that they don’t accumulate dust. The facility should have distinct areas for each area of production – particularly if it is working on multiple products simultaneously – to limit the potential for cross-contamination.

Finally, making use of air purification systems is a high effective and affordable solution. At Zehnder Clean Air Solutions, ➥ our filtration systems can prevent dust, bacteria and particles from settling on sensitive goods like food and beverages. Because they capture dust at the source, they ensure that the particles do not get a chance to circulate through the air and contaminate products. They can also help your company meet regulatory requirements, lower maintenance costs for machinery, and improve employee health, so there are plenty of reasons to consider air filtration today.

You may also like

Benefits of clean air Effects of dust Industries we work with Legal regulations Start with clean air Trends & facts 22.10.2020

Whitepaper: manufacturing workers are still being exposed to dangerous levels of air pollutants

Zehnder Clean Air Solutions and environment charity Global Action Plan launch a whitepaper detailing the current state of air quality in the manufacturing and logistics industry.

read more

Benefits of clean air Effects of dust Start with clean air Types of dust 12.11.2020

What is good air quality?

What is good air quality and how can you limit harmful air pollution effects? Our latest blog breaks down the risks from particles, gases, microbes and more to find the answer.

read more

Types of dust 01.09.2020

Dust alert! These dust definitions can harm your business

Make your business safe for employees by avoiding these six dust definitions.

read more

Follow us