It’s hard to fathom the influence that basic spices, such as black pepper and cinnamon, have had upon the world; yet, from the end of the Middle Ages through the European “Age of Discovery” and into modern times, the spice trade has had an enormous impact on the global economy. The spice trade by land (via the Silk Road) and on sea connected West and East. It compelled the establishment of new alliances, caused wars, spearheaded maritime discovery and ship building revolutions, brought cultures and economies closer together, and much more.
Today, we all enjoy open access to spices from around the world in our neighborhood groceries and corner stores, and the only revolutions that spices lead to are in professional kitchens. The spice trade has grown into a modern, industrial-scale field that produces and distributes products globally. The security of this industry, as in other food and beverage sectors, rests in quality control in the manufacture, shipment, and storage.
International standards and guidance documents, supported and confirmed by compressed air purity testing, play a major role in keeping spices fresh and safe.
THE LIFE OF A SPICE
Compressed air is an important component in how food and beverage products are manufactured, moved, stored and shipped. Compressed air plays a role in all major aspects of production: conveyors, generators, blowing out packaging (such as spice bottles), regulation of cool air in storage and shipment, etc. For the production and handling of spices, compressed air management helps regulate the moisture content.
Clean compressed air keeps the lines of production operating safely and efficiently, keeping out contaminants such as water and oil.
The many steps taken to ensure safety—such as understanding more than 1000 standards from ISO that impact food and beverage production—include regular testing of compressed air purity. The difficulty for any manufacturer here, however, is in the absence of a blanket specification for how all facilities must operate in regards to their compressed air quality. This isn’t an oversight in the world market. Indeed, the needs of production are so varied that a single specification is impossible. The air quality needs in spice production differ deeply, for example, from the air quality needs for the production of pharmaceuticals or cosmetics, just as they differ from air quality needs in the operation of breathing air apparatuses such as in the recreational dive field or for fire department equipment.
How can a company find its most efficient level of safe operation? Spice companies utilize compressed air testing equipment from TRI Air Testing to take samples directly at the source in production/packaging/storage and to verify that safe, clean compressed air at the level needed for their specific production and consumer safety is being used.
TRI Air Testing’s independent, third-party laboratory offers 24-hour turnaround time (for most standard compressed air tests) and online report access so that clients enjoy quick, clear understanding of their air quality, whether they are testing direct or indirect product contact, CGA Grade D, OSHA 1910.134, ISO 8573, or another standard or guidance document.
While today’s spice trade is much less dramatic than when Vasco da Gama sailed in search of a new, secure spice shipping route in the late 15th century, the measures the industry takes to ensure high-quality products are extensive. Compressed air testing is a key piece of it, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Our barbecues, curries, holiday meals and much more depend on it.
Do you have questions about compressed air testing, understanding standards and guidelines available to the food and beverage industry, or compressed air kits? Contact Donna Clark: firstname.lastname@example.org.
TRI, an AIHA-accredited laboratory, provides compressed air testing with excellence in quality and science. www.airtesting.com