Dairy Processing - January/February 2023 - 55

leading to air contaminating a product. " You've created a
shelf-life condition. "
Lindsey O'Brien, president of the Wisconsin Association
for Food Protection, said monitoring air quality is a must
for processors.
" I think it helps to think of air as a product contact surface
- anything carried in the air can come into contact with your
product, " O'Brien said.
Frequent testing and risk assessments also are paramount,
she said, while taking into consideration not just air currents,
but also foot traffic patterns, duct vents and the opening and
closing of doors.
BUILDING THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
Even before an air system is put in place, Travis said a
company needs a building that is " buttoned up, " with all the
necessary controls in place.
" The reality is you could put the best air system on the
best building, but if for some reason you have a condition
where two doors could ever be open at the same time, " that
would lead to issues.
For ready-to-eat products, if a facility has a door to the
outside from a processing area, Travis said a transition room
should be in place. At the Hilmar facility across the street
from his office in Hilmar, Calif., he said every roll-up door has
an adjacent transition room.
" But those two doors can never be open at the same time,
allowing for the loss of positive pressure or a draft into the
building, " he said.
Hilmar created a single point of entry and exit for all
personnel at the facility and put transition rooms on every
door from the plant to the outside. Travis said that created a
" nice envelope over the building, " that allows the air system to
reach its full potential.
" It might be mission critical for dairy, but these are
becoming the standards, " he said. " Anyone who's building a
food plant is building a building that envelops the process
I think it helps to think of air as a
product contact surface - anything
carried in the air can come into
contact with your product. "
Lindsey O'Brien, Wisconsin Association for Food Protection
and protects product and the air systems. "
Even the location of a facility can have an effect on the
air quality.
" Dairy processors tend to be in highly agricultural areas, "
Travis explained. " You're usually not trucking all the milk
into some highly concreted, perfect climate. You're usually in
animal agriculture environments, remote from cities, which
means dirt's being turned, wind is probably present. So you
have a big external factor. "
These are the types of lessons food safety experts in the
industry have learned through experience over the years.
" You can't just build a building, " Travis said. " You have to
build a building that protects under that condition as opposed
to build a good building and then throw some air on it. "
He added: " If your environment is very windy and has a
high turn up of dirt, the particles that move in the wind are
going to be really small. So if you don't pre-filter before the tip
of the unit's filters, you're going to choke them out and lose
airflow. You have to just understand what you're filtering. "
AVOIDING CONTAMINATION
Justin P. Miller-Schulze, PhD, is an associate professor in the
department of chemistry at Sacramento State University, where
his expertise lies in the realm of chemical analysis for trace
level contaminants in the air. He said from a quality assurance
and quality control perspective, the use of high efficiency
filtration systems to control air quality helps prevent both
outside-to-inside and cross-contamination of dairy products.
DAIRYPROCESSING.COM | JAN-FEB 2023 55
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Dairy Processing - January/February 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dairy Processing - January/February 2023

Dairy Processing - January/February 2023 - Intro
Dairy Processing - January/February 2023 - 1
Dairy Processing - January/February 2023 - 2
Dairy Processing - January/February 2023 - 3
Dairy Processing - January/February 2023 - 4
Dairy Processing - January/February 2023 - 5
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