New: EHEDG Connects Magazine III
Check out the new edition of EHEDG Connects Magazine, with 76 pages full of industry best practices in hygienic engineering and design, news on EHEDG Guideline, Certification, Training and Education developments, expert discussions and much more. The best holiday read you will find. Click on the banner above to read it online or ask your EHEDG Regional Section for a print copy.

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Ask an EHEDG Expert

Edition 3: Air Handling

EHEDG Connects poses simple questions to EHEDG Subject Matter Experts, and invites them to provide us with straight answers. Our questions on air handling are answered by Dr. Thomas Caesar, Director Global Filter Engineering at Freudenberg Filtration Technologies. Dr. Caesar is also the chair of the EHEDG Working Group Air Handling that developed EHEDG Guideline Document 47 on air handling systems in the food industry.

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EHEDG Document 47 only focuses on air quality control for building ventilation. Why?
Dr.Thomas Caesar: “When our working group started to work on this guideline back in 2006, it didn’t take us long to understand that in order to enhance the practical value of the  guideline, we first needed to narrow down the scope of the contents. After all, what use is a guideline that tries to cover everything, but only scratches the surface of the various food safety determining types of air handling? EHEDG Guideline Doc. 47 is a comprehensive document, that is closely aligned with EHEDG Guideline 48 on building design (as it should be), and it now offers a valuable insight in air quality control for building ventilation.

 

Of course, our working group also plans to publish a guideline on air handling for process oriented air handling as well, but since it’s all purely voluntary work, it will take us more time to complete it.”

What’s so complex about air handling that we need multiple guidelines for it?
“For starters: air is everywhere. In almost all food processes, even closed ones, food gets into contact with the air surrounding it. If this air contains particles that microbes can attach to, food safety risks may arise, so a well thought-out approach to air handling is fundamental for food safety. Since air tends to move around through freely through production plants, we need to approach air handling on all levels - from building ventilation to exhaust air, dust handling and compressed and non-compressed air flows. Each level is a world on its own and should be covered by a dedicated EHEDG Guideline Document. Our working group started off with narrowing the guideline down to building ventilation as this is applicable to many different types of food processing. Our next guideline, however, will focus on process air filtration.”

How do I know if my air handling is effective? 
“You can install particle counters that provide a better insight in the contamination risks connected to air quality. Since micro-organisms can only spread through the air if the air contains particles that the microbes can attach to, it is safe to say that minimizing the number of particles in the air benefits food safety. Despite of the availability of new technical solutions to monitor air quality in food processing environments, there are still many food producers that only start to improve air handling systems after they are confronted with serious product quality fluctuations. This is mainly due to the fact that most monitoring systems are still quite expensive. The most cost-effective way to monitor the air quality is to monitor the amount of airborne particle in the active air handling units. To do this, you can add special membranes to the filter units that collect the particles and allow users so you can grow and count them. Before you do this, you need of course to know what your critical control parameters are for your specific product.”


Dr. Thomas Caesar [interview continues below picture]


What are the most common causes for food contaminations by air?  
“Air connects everything: exteriors and interiors, different building zones and everything within it. A common cause for bad air quality is bad air flow design. We often see plants with air flowing from a contaminated (technical) area to critical food processing areas. A general rule of thumb is to always lead the air flows away from the critical process areas. That can be quite a challenge in big open spaces with multiple food processing lines. If you don’t have a good understanding of the actual air flows in your building, it can be difficult to pinpoint air quality issues related to the zoning design. Examining the sources of the airflows is also a good way to start your investigation. Since most buildings make use of recirculated air, major causes of air contamination can often be traced back to dirty or wrongly installed pocket air filters in the air handling systems, or bad water quality in the humidifier. Installing a filter unit directly above a wet floor doesn’t help either. We recommend to use exclusively EHEDG certified air handling components, but it’s not only the design of the air handling system that counts, it’s also how the people use it, how the maintenance is performed and so on. It’s all connected and each air handling system is as good as its weakest link, so you need a comprehensive approach to really optimize food safety in a sustainable way.”

What would be the best steps to take in order to improve air handling?
“It all starts with describing your critical control parameters, with making a thorough risk analysis and with qualifying the specific needs for your type of food product. After that, you can consult the EHEDG Guideline Documents. Zoning generally has a big impact on air flows, so the EHEDG Guideline on Building Design is a good document to start with. Then continue with our guideline on air handling with regard to building ventilation. These two guidelines are strongly intertwined, so we made sure that they are well aligned with each other. A relatively new and effective trend is to install air handling units directly at the points where the most critical process steps take place. This enables food producers to decouple their most critical processes from the rest of the air flows in a production environment. Since these locally focussed systems generally need to move much smaller volumes of air, they need less ventilation power than conventional systems and therefore can provide additional benefits like a significant reduction of energy consumption. In the end, it’s all about minimizing risks on all levels, from the engineering and design up to the daily usage and maintenance of the air handling systems.”

EHEDG members can download EHEDG Guideline Doc. 47 for free here: www.ehedg.org/guidelines  

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In remembrance of Dr. Tadeusz Matuszek

“Thank you for your expertise, your commitment and your friendship”

Dr. Tadeusz Matuszek, who passed away earlier this year, held two Masters in Science (in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Informatics) and a Ph.D. in Technical Sciences. He lectured at the University of Gdansk, relegating his knowledge to a new generation. When he passed away, many of us were suddenly reminded of how much Tadeusz has done for EHEDG over the course of so many years.

 

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“For many of us working in the world of technology, it often feels more comfortable to talk about facts and figures than to engage in personal conversations. When we talk about progress, we often think of technological advancements instead of progressing our relationships or enjoying each other’s company on an emotional level. Throughout his lifetime, Tadeusz Matuszek never forgot about the things that really matter, because he loved people as much as he loved technology.

 

Dr. Tadeusz Matuszek, who passed away earlier this year, held two Masters in Science (in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Informatics) and a Ph.D. in Technical Sciences. It seems like only yesterday that he stood there, lecturing at the Gdansk University of Technology, relegating his knowledge to a new generation.

When he passed away, he left us behind confused, because suddenly we realized what we had lost, and how much he has done for us over the course of so many years. It took me some time to find the words to express my feelings of gratitude towards Tadeusz, for his generosity, his wisdom, his commitment and his sincere friendship, in a way that would do him justice.

As the longstanding chairman of the EHEDG Regional Section Poland, Dr. Matuszek was the driving force behind the promotion of hygienic engineering and design in Eastern Europe. He was a busy man, who nevertheless faithfully attended many EHEDG meetings and always found time to wholeheartedly greet his fellow EHEDG members as good friends, handing out small gifts, like little souvenirs or liquors that he brought over from his home country Poland. He was also able to effortlessly commemorate conversations and shared experiences, even many years after they occurred.

Tadeusz was so joyful and humble. He would often take people aside to joke around or let them in on some entertaining confidentiality. Tadeusz was able to connect with people on many levels, simply by being his sincere self. He really loved the EHEDG community, and stayed fully committed to its cause right until the very end of his life. Dear Tadeusz, on behalf of the entire EHEDG community, I express my gratitude for your commitment, your expertise, your wisdom and commitment and your friendship. Our condolences go out to all of your family members and closest friends. You where loved and you will be sorely missed.”


With highest regards,

Andres Pascual Vidal, EHEDG Regional Development

 

 

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EHEDG Guideline Document 50 on CIP now ready for download!

Hygienic Design Requirements For Cleaning-In-Place (CIP) Installations

Do you want to feel confident that your Cleaning-In-Place (CIP) installations meet all hygienic design requirements? Then select, upgrade, design, build and operate them in compliance with EHEDG Guideline Document 50. Download, comply and rest assured: www.ehedg.org/guidelines

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EHEDG Guideline Fish Processing

EHEDG Guideline 49 ready for download

Associate Professor at the University of Zagreb and Chair of EHEDG Working Group Fish Processing Prof. Dr. Sanja Vidaček Filipec explains the value of combining practical and academic hygienic design knowledge. The article provides insights in how the EHEDG Fish Processing Guideline Document 49 helps to tackle food safety challenges in fish processing.

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Every food processing line benefits from hygienic engineering and design, but fish processing is particularly receptive for microbiological contamination. That’s why every fish handling process should comply with the latest EHEDG guidelines. It is also why EHEDG published a new guideline dedicated exclusively to fish processing.

 

Food Technologist Sanja Vidaček Filipec is Associate Professor at the University of Zagreb and the Chair of the EHEDG Working Group Fish Processing. She talks about the unique hygienic design challenges in fish processing and explains how the new EHEDG Fish Processing Guideline 49 can help to tackle fish processing challenges and minimise contamination risks.

 

What sets industrial fish processing apart from other food handling processes?

Sanja Vidaček Filipec: “Firstly, fish come in all sorts, shapes, and sizes and varieties differ greatly around the world. Consequently, there are many technical approaches to processing fish. This represented a challenge for our working group members who committed themselves to develop a comprehensive and international industry guideline. Secondly, fish processing environments are always humid, and humidity is the single most compromising factor for food safety because it manifolds the risk of microbiological contamination. Thirdly, since fish is highly perishable, speed and efficiency are particularly important in fish processing, even more so than in processing red meat or even poultry. That’s why fish trailers freeze their fish right after each catch. It is also why modern industry fish processing lines that make good use of EHEDG guidelines not only optimize their food safety and food quality conditions but also their efficiency and productivity.”


Why did it take until now to develop this guideline?

“In the past years EHEDG published technical guidelines on specific areas of open processing that also apply to fish processing - we refer to quite a lot of them in this new guideline. It took quite some time before all those separate guidelines were detailed enough to support a comprehensive guideline on fish processing. In the meantime, our working group focused on developing a set of fundamental hygienic design principles that would apply to different types of fish processing plants, in line with the basic hygienic design principles in EHEDG Guideline 8. This EHEDG Fish Processing Guideline 49 offers just that and more because it also addresses hygienic aspects that are specific to contemporary fish processing techniques, like the use of vacuum systems to remove by-products. EHEDG Fish Processing Guideline 49 took several years to develop because there are so many food safety and food quality determining aspects to industrial fish processing that had to be investigated. On a detailed level, every fish processing plant has to apply this guideline in accordance with their circumstances.”


Who should read this guideline?

“Everyone involved in the processing of salmon, white marine fish, and freshwater fish can put this guideline to excellent use. EHEDG Fish Processing Guideline 49 is even applicable for fish processing on fishing vessels. Overall, this new guideline offers great value during the procurement process, the plant design, installation, and microbiological sampling phase. It provides a comprehensive overview of all the everyday hazards and challenges of fish processing and does so in clear, non-technical descriptions. All members of our working group wanted to make sure that everyone could understand the principles. We expect this guideline to contribute to a more widespread awareness of food safety and food quality determining aspects of fish processing on all levels in the industry. Now every decision-maker in the fish industry can refer to this guideline and specify what is meant when requesting hygienic design solutions. Moreover, equipment producers striving to certificate new equipment for the fish processing industry know what criteria their components have to comply with. The EHEDG Working Group Fish Processing is convinced that this guideline will help to optimise food safety and food quality in fish processes all over the world.”

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