HUMIDITY CONTROL WITHIN THE FOOD PRODUCTION INDUSTRY

Why humidity control is so important in food production

Air humidity control is an essential and yet often overlooked quality factor within food production facilities. The control of humidity within production spaces can lead to higher levels of hygiene along with the potential for maximising production levels and achieving product consistency all year round.

High humidity leads to exponentially high potential for bacterial growth.

The risk for bacterial contamination within food production areas presents challenges and risk to producers especially in high care areas. Desiccant dehumidifiers have the ability to operate across a broad temperature range making them uniquely placed to provide accurate humidity control within production areas. This results in minimising the risk of bacterial growth and condensation. In addition our systems help reduce drying times of areas following washdowns.

Maintain consist product quality, maximise production.

High humidity can often lead to variances in product quality and production capacity. During the summer months when moisture loads are at there peak many manufacturers experience a drop in production levels and product quality. By controlling the humidity within production areas specifically those that handle hygroscopic materials you can ensure that capacity and quality are maximised regardless of the time of year.

The benefits of humidity control at the packaging and labelling stage.

Packaging and labelling of products are greatly affected in high humidity areas. Cardboard packaging degrades above 55% relative humidity. Above 80% relative humidity provides the perfect environment for the growth of mould and mildew to form on products and packaging. Adhesives used in the labelling process also degrade with the quality of adhesion to surfaces being negatively affected.

Examples of food and drink processes that benefit from humidity control 

Brewery humidity control 

Condensation on cold surfaces and the formation of bacteria can be prevented this is achieved by maintaining the moisture in the surrounding air at a dewpoint below that of cold surfaces such as tanks and exposed pipework.

Fluidized bed drying

In many cases the capacity of fluidized bed dryers can be increased with the use of a desiccant dehumidifier. The use of a desiccant dehumidification system will enable producers to control the condition of the supply air being fed into a fluidized bed dryer. By maintaining this air at a constant optimal moisture level it ensures maximum production output can be achieved regardless of outdoor weather and seasons.

Humidity control within packaging and finished product storage areas

  • Maintaining the ideal humidity in storage areas will help to prevent finished and packed food products from soaking up moisture and losing quality. 
  • To eliminate the risk of cardboard cartons being destroyed by condensation and moisture storage rooms should be controlled at below 55% relative humidity.

The benefits of dewpoint control during ice cream production

Frost on the ice cream and its packaging can be prevented by controlling the humidity from the freezer to the packaging area. If possible the use of enclosed, dehumidified conveyor lines is recommended as this minimises the size of the humidity control equipment and associated running costs. 

Dairy production humidity control 

  • Dairy factories often suffer with high humidity and condensation issues. One common issue is labels falling off cartons due to the fact the glue will not stick in the high humidity environment or on wet surfaces. 
  • Cheese packaging that utilises waxed envelopes can also experience issues with mould growth on the outside of the waxed surface this in many cases can also lead to the cheese inside being ruined. 

The importance of humidity control when drying of food products

Maintaining flavours of food products during drying and curing processes are often temperature sensitive. Desiccant dehumidifiers can enable you to consistently dry products at lower temperatures ensuring optimal drying times are achieved without loss of product quality. 

Spiral freezer humidity control

Frost inside spiral-freezers or other types of freezers can be minimized with desiccant dehumidification systems this can be achieved by controlling the moisture content of the air at both the inlet and outlet of the freezer. As a result periods between defrost cycles can be maximised with the final frozen product looking much fresher with less damage resulting once the product is thawed for use.

The importance of humidity control within meat processing facilities

In meat processing, large amounts of water is used for cleaning which can create undesirable moisture in premises that may result into condensation. Dehumidifying the room with a desiccant dehumidifier will improve hygiene and safety and prevent the formation of mould and bacteria.

STAGES OF PRODUCTION / STORAGE

COOLING OF FRESH MEAT
BLAST FREEZING
FREEZING OF MEAT IN SEMI-CARCASSES
FREEZING OF MEAT AND OFFAL IN BLOCKS
STORAGE OF UNPACKAGED MEAT:
SHORT TERM STORAGE
LONG TERM STORAGE
STORAGE OF MEAT AND OFFAL IN BLOCKS
STORAGE OF CHILLED MEAT

IDEAL RELATIVE HUMIDITY %RH

90-92
90-95
90-92
90%

85-90
85-90
85-90
85-90

IDEAL TEMPERATURE °Cdb

MINUS 2 TO PLUS 1
MINUS 23-30
MINUS 23-35
MINUS 23-27

MINUS 12
MINUS 18
MINUS 18
MINUS 2 TO 0

Contact one of our team today to find your humidity control solution...