Food Processing Industry Dust Collection
Introduction to Dust Control for Food Processing Industries
Food processing is a dusty business. From grain silos to bakeries to food packaging facilities, dust control is a critical consideration for the food processing industry.
The food processing industry as a whole produces many different types of dust. Some of the most common food processing dust types include fugitive grain dust from silo filling and grain transport; grain and flour dust from milling and grinding; corn starch and other powdered starches; dust from transporting or grinding dried nuts and legumes; dehydrated milk and egg products; sugar dust; and cocoa dust. The food processing industry also uses a wide variety of spices, flavorings and additives, some of which are hazardous in the concentrations workers are exposed to during food production.
Dust control for food processing is important from both a food safety perspective and a worker health and safety perspective. Uncontrolled food dusts create many different types of problems, including sanitation concerns, cross-contamination, microbial contamination, health issues for workers and slip-and-fall hazards. Dust control is also a regulatory consideration for food processors, who must comply with stringent food safety regulations from the FDA and USDA as well as occupational safety regulations from OSHA and NFPA. Failure to properly control food processing dust can expose companies to substantial fines, a greater risk of food recalls and even loss of FDA registration.
There are 32,000 food processing facilities in the U.S. alone, ranging from tiny local and regional bakeries to mega-processing plants employing up to 5,000 workers—and each one of these facilities has unique needs when it comes to dust control. Because the exact hazards and conditions vary so widely across the different parts of the food processing industry, mitigation solutions for food processing dust must be designed for the specific dust types, processes and environmental conditions at each facility. It is important to work with an engineering partner who can develop a holistic dust control solution that includes ventilation, dust containment and dust collection.