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Attention All Food Processors – Mandatory Annual Compressed Air Quality Testing Starts Soon!

What Does It Mean? What’s Happening?

The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) will introduce a new Safe Quality Food Manual (ISO 22000) in the U.S. on May 24, 2021. It includes a significant change regarding compressed air and other compressed gases such as nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Previously, there had been no statement regarding how or when to monitor compressed air quality. Going forward, food processors must test (at least) annually for factors including particulate, water, oil, microbiologicals and relevant gaseous testing in compressed air or other gases. A verification of the effectiveness of compressor maintenance and filtration that a management facility has in place should also be conducted.

Who’s Affected?

Air quality testing will be required in many food industry sectors, such as:

  • Primary plant production
  • Primary animal production
  • Aquaculture
  • Food manufacturing
  • Pet food manufacturing
  • Animal feed manufacturing
  • Animal product manufacturing
  • Dietary supplement manufacturing
  • Storage and distribution
  • Manufacturing of food packaging

Consider these excerpts from Abstract SQF Code, Edition 9:

General for Food Manufacturing

  • Compressed air systems and systems used to store or dispense other gases that come into contact with food or food contact surfaces shall be maintained and regularly monitored for quality and applicable food safety hazards. The frequency of analysis shall be risk-based and at a minimum annually.

For Food Storage and Distribution

  • Compressed air systems and systems used to store or dispense other gases used in food storage and distribution process shall be maintained and regularly monitored for quality and applicable food safety hazards. The frequency of analysis shall be risk-based and at a minimum annually.

For Packaging

  • Compressed air and other systems used to store or dispense gases that come into contact with food sector packaging or product contact surfaces shall be maintained and regularly monitored for quality and potential food safety hazards. The frequency of analysis shall be risk-based and at a minimum annually.

See full text at: https://www.sqfi.com/resource-center/sqf-code-edition-9-downloads/

How Can I Ensure My Air Systems Meet the New Requirements?

You’ll need a carefully designed and implemented Compressed Air Monitoring Program to verify the effectiveness of your facility’s air filtration and air system maintenance to help you meet new quality testing standards. A good starting point is a professional audit of your system for compressed air or other gases. To learn more about an audit, contact your Atlas Copco Air Systems Specialist.

About SQFI

The mission of SQFI is to deliver consistent, globally-recognized food safety and quality certification programs based on sound scientific principles, applied across all industry sectors and valued by all stakeholders. Learn more at www.sqfi.com.