Medium to low levels of humidity is rarely noticed and given any mention. Higher humidity can be a noticeable problem in keeping a large open area warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Excess humidity can also have a direct negative impact on the foods being prepared and packaged for market. Below are five ways that high humidity plays a critical role in food manufacturing.
1 - Microorganism Growth on Finished Food and Raw Materials
Microorganisms are tiny and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Ingesting them can make humans ill. They are normally all over raw fruits, vegetables and can be on uncooked meats
. This is why most of these raw materials are kept frozen, or in coolers. This slows down the growth of these microbes until they can be washed, cooked and turned into the intended finished products. Any failures in the cooling and freezing equipment can cause increased microorganism growth in raw and cooked foods. 2 - Bacterial Growth On Equipment
Bacteria and germs thrive in a humid environment. Some types of bacteria are not necessarily harmful but can compromise the looks, taste, and smell of the products. Other types can make a person very sick, or prove fatal in large amounts. The heating, cooling, and humidity levels have to be exactly right and maintained to avoid this problem. 3 - Difficulty Maintaining Optimal Temperatures
High humidity can make it difficult to keep temperatures within acceptable ranges. It is critical to know what the accurate levels of humidity are and adjust them accordingly. Keeping humidity under control
also increases the energy savings of the manufacturing process. The building is better able to stay comfortably cool, or warm, depending on the seasonal needs. 4 - Vitamin Breakdown
Many foods have particular types of vitamins added to help enrich their nutritional value. This is especially true of foods that are marketed for children. The vitamin content in foods can begin to break down when left in high levels of heat and humidity. This compromises the overall value intended for the particular brand or specified food item. Food manufacturers want to make sure the consumer is getting all of the vitamin benefit printed on the label. 5 - Corrosion and Degrading of Packaging Materials
High humidity can cause condensation. This happens when warm, moist air begins to cool. Droplets of water will begin to collect in areas you might not expect. Moisture on the insides of cans can cause corrosion. Moisture inside plastic packaging can cause dry items to become saturated, lumpy, or soft. Moisture can degrade cardboard packaging and cause catastrophic failure. A professional calibration service
will determine if the equipment used to monitor and reduce humidity are working correctly. If not, the needed adjustments can be made.
Humidity can be a tougher enemy of the food production industry than you might imagine. It is one important element that has to be held under strict control.