Since 1975, Airmatic Compressor Systems has focused on helping our clients by improving productivity and reducing costs with high-quality products and personalized service. As New Jersey’s largest distributor of air compressors and vacuum pumps, we’re proud to support companies in the pharmaceutical and food & beverage industries with Safe Quality Food (SQF) quality air testing services.
What is SQF Air Testing?
Pharmaceutical and food & beverage companies have a responsibility to provide products and packaging that are safe for consumers. Those safety considerations go far beyond the products themselves and the materials used to package them—the food items must be processed and packaged in a clean, sanitary facility, and manufacturers must ensure the process does not introduce mold, pathogens, or other contaminants.
The Safe Quality Food Institute outlines the requirements for ensuring food and other consumables are safe for consumption. The code dictates that compressed air used in production and manufacturing must be clean and present no risk to food safety, and that the air must be monitored to ensure continued purity.
The Importance of SQF Air
Various physical, chemical, and biological hazards are present in a food processing facility, including dust and rust particles, oil and water, microorganisms, and more. These particles can enter the compressed air stream and must be removed to prevent negative impacts on product quality, food safety, and processing systems. If not removed, these contaminants can be ingested by consumers, which can lead to harmful health effects.
Compressed air is used in cleaning, cutting, shaping, and conveying food products, as well as filling and sealing cartons. Using SQF-compliant compressed air systems is essential to ensure the use of sterile air and reduce the risk of food contamination.
The Legal Requirement of SFQ Air
SQF is not the only organization that regulates food quality. The Food and Drug Administration, the Global Food Safety Initiative, and others all require the testing of compressed air systems to ensure clean air. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to know the contents of the air and take the appropriate steps to ensure sanitary conditions. According to SQF code:
- 18.104.22.168 – This code dictates that all compressed air and other gases that come into contact with food and food contact surfaces must be clean and not jeopardize food safety.
- 22.214.171.124 – This code outlines that compressed air systems or other systems utilized to dispense or store gases that may contact food or food contact surfaces must be regularly maintained and monitored for applicable hazards to food safety. How often this analysis must be performed is risk-based, but must at least happen annually.
Although SQF certification is not legally required, it is a standard in the food industry, and failure to certify can damage your reputation, reduce your sales, and foster distrust among consumers. Certification is a multi-step process that requires a designated employee to understand the code and the process for certification as well as an official audit to prove compliance.
How to Achieve SQF Air
Every system must remove contaminants to achieve safe air quality. That starts with installing a quality air testing system or process that meets SQF standards and monitoring it carefully to ensure it’s working properly. Depending upon the type of facility and the processes you have in place, there are different requirements for compressed air, and different types of filters may be needed.
According to SQF, monitoring means, “A program that includes particles, water, oil, microorganism, and gases in compressed air and other gases. A verification of effectiveness of compressor maintenance and filtration a management facility has in place.”
Quality Air Pertaining to Compressed Air & Manufacturing
Achieving the SQF food safety certification is a testament to your commitment to consumers. Ensuring your compressed air is sanitary also helps you meet FDA food regulations. Because each facility and manufacturing process is different, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to compressed air quality testing and monitoring.
Instead, you must determine the right approach for your company in compliance with the SQF code and other applicable food regulations to ensure safe, high-quality consumables for your customers. The compressed air must be clean, and monitoring and inspection of the system should be done annually, at a minimum. In some facilities, more frequent monitoring may be advised.
Airmatic’s Services for SQF Quality Air Testing
At Airmatic, we support the SQF certification process by installing ports at the correct locations for testing, completing the testing and sending the samples to a lab, and supporting both current and new SQF initiatives. Doing this helps our clients meet their food safety goals and responsibilities. With better testing and monitoring, you ensure compliance and safe food practices, which leads to greater trust among consumers and higher productivity for your company. When you work with us, you can schedule shutdowns for equipment maintenance at a time that works for you, rather than dealing with the inconvenience and high cost of an unexpected breakdown.
As an industry leader, Airmatic continues to innovate with new technology and processes to provide high-performance motors, advanced controllers, variable speed drives, and more. We’re known for effective solutions and exceptional, responsive service, and you can rely on us for quality air testing services and more. Contact us today to learn more about our products and services, or request a quote for your project.