Cleaning the air: pandemic prevention at meat facility

Friday, 25 September, 2020 | Supplied by: Camfil Australia Pty Limited

Some meat production factories in Australia, Germany and around the world have been experiencing clusters of coronavirus outbreaks, with hundreds and sometimes thousands of workers being infected at one site.

Scientists have been investigating these clusters to determine a reason why the outbreaks are common in such facilities. At some sites, it has been reported that it may be due to the cold temperatures and insufficient air filtration system that allowed the pathogen to spread rapidly.

German meat processing company Tönnies Group has now implemented high-efficiency air cleaners from Camfil as part of its pandemic prevention scheme. The air filtration concept will be installed at its headquarters in Germany in its meat production facility. The aim is to set high-hygiene standards for the sensitive food area and focus on improved indoor air quality at the facility.

To achieve the temperatures of around 6 to 10°C required for meat processing, Tönnies uses convection coolers as they cool the circulating air and return it to the room for re-use. Some scientific studies have indicated that airborne pathogens such as viruses can spread through air recirculation, which could increase the risk of infection for employees.

Tönnies Group has now installed a new multi-level hygiene solution that consists of high-efficiency HEPA air cleaners, certified with EN1822:2019 from Camfil. These air cleaners (CC 6000 and CC 2000) with ProSafe HEPA H14 filters clean the indoor air from the circulating aerosols or viruses and provide clean filtered air to the cooling system for circulation. The systems were positioned at an elevated position so that the air cleaners can get a good flow of air through the production rooms and at the same time do not interfere with operations.

Initial measurements, which were carried out shortly after the installation, showed significant particle reduction by more than 50%.

The improved air treatment was tested for several days using cold smoke and particle measurements by a team of occupational hygienists and physicians from the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Bonn.

It has been reported that Camfil’s air cleaners are successfully removing the airborne microbes and particles from the Tönnies meat processing facility.

The air cleaners installed at the facility have been designed to ensure a safe production environment for both the personnel and the processes involved.

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