When it comes to moisture management, food industry experts work hard to keep humidity levels down in processing facilities when outdoor temperatures rise. Food borne illnesses are more prevalent during the warmer, more humid months of the year because bacteria thrive and multiply in balmy conditions. The effects of warm, humid weather can have negative impacts on the quality of food, ultimately leading to a product that is not suitable for distribution or consumption. Take preventive action while the weather is still cool and avert a moisture crisis during the summer.
Moisture Management & Food Industry Practices
Despite strict compliance with food safety standards, some food processing facilities experience moisture problems that pose contamination hazards, such as overhead condensation and water vapor. Humidity can become especially problematic during the cleaning process when water and steam turn into hazardous fog and condensation.
To control moisture in food processing facilities, follow USDA standards regarding:
- Cooking, cooling, thawing and/or storing foods in recommended storage areas at appropriate temperatures within the recommended amount of time.
- Cleaning and drying surfaces affected by moisture and condensation as soon as possible.
- Using a mechanism to remove excessive water from drip lines, cooled foods and chilled foods.
- Using chilled water in a drip line to thaw meat and poultry.
- Testing water absorption and retention in meat and poultry by finding a time-and-temperature equipment setting that minimizes moisture and prevents the growth of pathogens.
Temporary Humidity Control Solution
Manual drying or simply using an HVAC system and fans to eliminate moisture can take hours. The longer moisture lingers, the more time bacteria has to grow. If humidity is not properly controlled, a hazardous environment for employees and consumers is created during the summer months.
An effective measure that some food facilities implement is the use of a desiccant dehumidification technology. The benefits of such a technology include:
- Reduced cleaning and drying times.
- Improved employee health.
- The quick elimination of hazardous fog and condensation caused by steam cleaning.
- Walls and machinery stay drier.
- Dehumidification occurs independently of conventional evaporator coils which means food production specifications are met.
- Freezers accumulate less frost and experience shorter defrost cycles.
Spring is around the corner, which means visible signs of summer humidity are still a couple months away. Don’t let the climate and humidity affect the quality of your product. Take control and stay ahead of the game to make sure your facility is prepared. Call Polygon to learn more about trying a desiccant dehumidification system in your facility.