The Aseptic and Antimicrobial Processing and Packaging Association (AAPPA) also includes Coca-Cola, Lucozade Ribena Suntory, Zee Company and Serac.
It will bring together food and beverage producers, processors, packaging suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and other stakeholders to address communication, training, and safety education needs in the sector.
One focus area is Peracetic or peroxyacetic acid (PAA), used for disinfection and sterilization at low temperatures. It is water soluble, and leaves no solid residue after rinsing with the end products being water, oxygen and acetic acid (vinegar).
PAA is produced as part of a formulation of acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide.
Employee safety in aseptic environments
David Hilliker, AAPPA chairman, said the association will ensure the safety of food and beverage processing employees working in aseptic environments.
“We will start by looking to develop best practice use of chemicals in aseptic processing with a survey that was sent out to processing companies to understand what their needs are, what they see as problems and what workers are experiencing,” he told FoodProductionDaily.
“It came about by ChemDAQ developing a sensor to detect peracetic acid and the first customers who installed it said other people need to know about this, and since there was no association to share safety information, safety equipment technologies and develop best practices and safety protocols, we got together and started one.
“The organisation will represent industry and work with government agencies in the development of exposure limits.”
AAPPA will play a part in state, federal, and international regulation, scientific research on which to base safety standards and thresholds, and developing best practices for worker protection, spill clean-up, and other safety areas.
Hilliker, also president and CEO of ChemDAQ, said beverage, dairy and protein industries use chemicals such as peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide as disinfectants.
“Peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide are widely accepted to kill foodborne pathogens and on contact it leaves a low harmless residue containing only water and acetic acid (vinegar),” he said.
“PAA can be more effective than hydrogen peroxide in certain applications, but both compounds are widely used but there aren’t legal exposure limits.
“Hydrogen peroxide has no odour, and [according to the ACGIH it has been shown to cause cancer in animals.
“The problem is if a chemical has no significant odour threshold and you work around it in processing plants you don’t know if you are exposed to it.”
Working safely with new chemicals
Hilliker said the problem with new chemicals is understanding how to detect and work with them safely.
“OSHA is working on developing peracetic acid standards and detection methods but currently there is no established method to measure PAA and it is an ever-changing thing,” he said.
“PAA has been evaluated for many food and beverage applications and determined to work well as a antimicrobial chemical to kill microorganisms but can workers be harmed if overly exposed.
“Safety aspects often lag behind the new applications of chemicals, as limited knowledge is available concerning the risks, which can be a big problem.
“People need and generally want to use chemicals safely, it is to everyone’s advantage to develop best practices and for the AAPPA to be the voice of the industry regarding regulatory issues, provide resources and generate information through testing and surveys.
“The AAPPA will focus on the safe use of PAA, both from a worker safety perspective, and to a lesser extent the food safety aspect if chemicals are not used properly. Everyone wants to keep employees safe and processes running smoothly as no-one wants to shut down a line and stop production.”
OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for Hydrogen Peroxideis 1 part per million (ppm) as an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA) concentration.
The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) approved a short-term exposure limit (STEL) for peracetic acid of 0.4 ppm over a rolling 15-minute period.
Membership of AAPPA is open to food and beverage companies that use aseptic and antimicrobial processing technologies within facilities and suppliers of equipment, chemicals, or materials to those companies.
Hilliker will present the association at Aseptipak Latin America, Global Forum on Aseptic/ESL Processing, Filling & Packaging 26-27 October in Mexico City, Mexico.
He said AAPPA plans to have yearly face to face meetings at the event.
B&C Consortia Management (BCCM) formed the association. BCCM helps the chemical industry form consortia to achieve shared research, testing, regulatory, and advocacy goals.