Gas Detection Solutions for Food & Drink

The food and beverage sector has many functions which involve food processing, packaging, treating waste, storage, food preservation and sanitation. Many of these processes use and produce dangerous gases – carbon dioxide, oxygen, refrigeration gases and sanitising gases such as peracetic acid.

Gas detection is, therefore, an important component of the safety management plan for such operations.

 

Food and Drink Sector Gas Hazards
What do the Safety Guidelines Say?
The a1-cbiss Solution

The process of monitoring gases is not only vital to guarantee food quality but to also protect people working in and around food preparation areas. A variety of gases can be present throughout the food and drink industry and monitoring gases effectively save lives and increase productivity.

Sterilisation & Disinfection – Peracetic acid (PAA), hydrogen peroxide and chlorine are an essential part of delivering safe food and drink products to the consumer. These gases are very harmful irritants which cause eye, mouth and throat soreness and the potential of long-lasting respiratory damage. Gas detection systems that operate 24/7 may be required to activate ventilation systems.

Fermentation – The pizza making process using yeast and sugar can emit carbon dioxide which if left undetected can build up and rise to potentially fatal levels. CO2 displaces oxygen causing potentially fatal suffocation. Continuous gas detection systems will alert when levels are too high.

Refrigeration – Refrigeration systems for the storage of foodstuffs commonly use CO2, ammonia or Freons. Whilst these refrigerant gases are efficient to charge refrigerated systems, they can sometimes leak and at large volumes. The loss of refrigerant gas is not only expensive to replace but they can be really harmful to people coming into contact with them.

Packaging – COis often part of a gas mixture, with nitrogen for example. It is used to flush food in sealed packaging to remove oxygen. This process prolongs food shelf life and keeps it looking fresher for longer.

CO2 is used widely in the food and drink industry – everything from adding the bubbles in fizzy drinks to refrigeration. In low concentrations, CO2 is a harmless gas but in high volumes, it can be very dangerous.

 

The EH40 workplace exposure limits (WELs) guide those responsible for controlling exposure to hazardous substances at work. A WEL is a concentration limit of a contaminant — such as gas, vapour, aerosol or dust — in the air, averaged over a reference period, to which workers can be exposed by inhalation.

CO2 – If CO2 levels rise above 1,000 ppm workers can begin to experience headaches and drowsiness. If left unresolved or undetected, CO2 levels rising to 5,000 ppm will exceed safe workplace limits resulting in staff not being able to work, hampering production and incurring financial losses.

If the levels of carbon dioxide remain undetected and rise above 40,000 ppm this can lead to serious oxygen depletion resulting in brain damage, coma and ultimately death.

The F-Gas legislation currently dictates that any refrigeration system that holds more than the CO2 equivalent of refrigerant charge must have a fixed refrigerant gas leak monitoring system installed.

 

a1-cbiss have varied experience of providing gas monitoring and safety solutions to the food and drink sector.

Fixed gas detection systems continuously monitor for risk of toxicity and insufficient oxygen levels by triggering alarms or ventilation systems. Portable gas detectors protect workers in confined spaces. Breathing protection may be used in grain storage areas to protect workers against inhalation of dust or irritant toxic gases.

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