Keeping Legionella Out of UK Food Plants
For UK food manufacturers, controlling Legionella is a vital part of upholding food safety. This waterborne pathogen can sneak into and spread through the intricate water systems used for processing, cleaning, and sanitation.
If Legionella bacteria are allowed to multiply and disseminate via water droplets, they pose a significant risk.
Thankfully, here at PTS – we’re experts in Legionella Control. As nationwide Legionella contractors we help business and facilities across multiple industries resolve their legionella concerns – whether that’s involved legionella assessments, or remedial works.
Legionella pose severe risks in UK food manufacturing water systems if left unchecked. Implementing customised water safety plans – implemented by us, Pipe Testing Services. And using effective treatment, maintenance, testing, and design safeguards will controls this hazard. With diligence and expertise, UK food processors can keep this furtive pathogen under control, strengthening process integrity from ingredients through finished food.
Where Does Legionella Come From?
Legionella refers to over 50 species of bacteria frequently occurring in natural freshwater environments. The variety Legionella pneumophila causes over 90% of infections. Though coming from nature, these gram-negative bacteria can proliferate to dangerous levels within the complex water networks found in food plants.
This usually includes equipment like:
all of these allow Legionella to thrive, especially if water stagnates while accumulating sludge and biofilms. Water temperatures between 20-45°C are ideal for growth. Once established, Legionella can be spread in aerosolised droplets and inhaled, leading to the severe pneumonia Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella Statistics – Why UK Food Companies Should Care
According to Public Health England, there were 530 confirmed cases of Legionnaires’ disease in residents of England and Wales in 2016.This number has increased from 448 cases in 2015 and 284 cases in 2014. The monthly surveillance reports for 2020 show that there were 228 confirmed cases from January to October, but this may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on travel and testing.
Outbreaks have been traced back to various food factories here, underscoring the need for control. Such sobering events show why UK food manufacturers must implement water management programmes.
Key Strategies for Legionella Control and Prevention
Carefully controlling water temperature, regularly disinfecting, preventing stagnation, and smart facility design are essential for managing Legionella.
Complex treatment regimens require expertise, so consultants like us at Pipe Testing Services can help UK food companies develop monitoring, hazard analysis, treatment triggers, verification, and corrective actions.
Temperature Control - Legionella & Food Plants
Stringently maintaining hot water above 60°C and cold water below 20°C inhibits Legionella growth in UK food plant systems. Stagnation allows water to reach the ideal 20-50°C range for proliferation, so steady temperatures are vital. Insulating pipes helps maintain the proper levels. Chilled water loops can supplement cooling of lines if needed.
Stored water demands extra precautions. Hot water tanks should keep water above 60°C with minimal retention time. Routine heat flushing at 70-80°C gives added control. Temperatures and heating operations should be logged frequently at critical points to verify efficacy.
Contact Pipe Testing Services today to discuss implementing a temperature monitoring and control plan tailored to your facility’s water systems.
Water Disinfection - Legionella & Food Plants
Sufficient disinfectant residuals control microbial growth in pipelines. Free chlorine at 2-3 ppm is typically used in UK plants. Alternatives like chloramine, chlorine dioxide, ozone, and copper-silver ionization are options as well. Secondary dosing points can boost disinfectant levels farther from the source. Routine testing at representative points ensures adequate residuals are sustained.
Regular heat treatment or flushing kills Legionella residing in sediments and biofilms. Flushing hot water at 70-80°C through equipment and lines disinfects the entire system. Periodic shock chlorination, sometimes with acid washes, provides supplementary disinfection.
Certain design aspects encourage Legionella growth. To optimise your facility layout:
We can help with this. PTS can provide full facility inspections and recommend ways to optimize your plant’s layout, pipe routing, and equipment to control Legionella risks.
Procedural controls supplement treatment regimens. Strainers, spray nozzles, strainers, and valves should be cleaned or replaced routinely to remove sediment. Tanks are drained fully for inspection and cleaning. Flushing and swabbing eliminates pipe biofilm build-up. Thorough shutdown disinfection provides additional control.
Frequent water testing directs treatment approaches. Culturing samples from various points weekly or more often quantifies Legionella levels. Counts below 100 CFU/mL indicate adequate control. Findings above set thresholds prompt intensified treatment like emergency chlorination. Testing cooling tower drift samples verifies no escape.
Documentation & Verification
Meticulous UK food plant recordkeeping provides proof that control measures are working properly. Water temperatures and disinfectant residuals are logged at set locations. Cleaning and maintenance are documented. Any positive Legionella results lead to recorded corrective actions. Such documentation demonstrates due diligence.
Contact Pipe Testing Services
By choosing Pipe Testing Services, you can save time, money, and hassle, and ensure that your food manufacturing facility is in full compliance with the legal requirements and best practices for Legionella prevention.
Phone – 01922 451646
Address – Unit 27 Birchbrook Industrial Estate, Shenstone, Lichfield, Staffs, WS14 0DJ
We are committed to delivering reliable and reputable services to ensure the safety and compliance of your water systems. Contact us now to discuss your needs or to schedule a no-obligation consultation. Our knowledgeable team is ready to assist you.
Contact us today to receive a personalised quote for a Legionella risk assessment and water safety plan for your food manufacturing plant. We will provide experienced guidance tailored to your budget while ensuring the highest quality service.