“Not all exposures to poor indoor air quality cause symptoms, but the health hazards are there. That’s why air filtration management is important for maintaining a safe work environment,” said Steve Smith, CamCleaner Segment Manager at Camfil USA.
Sources of pollutants like these include malfunctioning or poorly maintained HVAC systems, compressed unfiltered air lines and standing water. People working at the facility can also release bioaerosols into the air. These contaminant particles can remain suspended for a period of time, then eventually settle on surfaces. When food comes into contact with these pathogens, it could become contaminated, causing a food safety hazard.
For commercial bakery workers, inhaling bioaerosols can cause respiratory conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Ingesting food contaminated with certain bacteria can cause serious digestive problems and in some cases even kidney failure.
The recent pandemic has raised awareness across the board that dangerous airborne particles are present in indoor air. Many commercial bakery operators are improving their ventilation systems by including the appropriate air filtration for their facility. Also driving this trend is the desire to reduce food safety dangers and safeguard employee health. Air filters act as a barrier between the contaminants and workers and food products.
Commercial bakery facilities should have HVAC systems working optimally to keep bioaerosol emissions as low as possible. The appropriate high-efficiency HVAC air filters should be used in these systems to capture bioaerosols and prevent them from circulating. Ventilating the facility with outside air can also decrease concentrations of air contaminants within the building.
“To reduce the levels of bioaerosols within bakery facilities, it is important to have an air filtration expert evaluate each area of the operation. In addition to appropriate HVAC air filtration, supplemental commercial air cleaning systems can be installed to trap and neutralize harmful airborne contaminants,” Smith noted.