Beware of Glass Contamination This article first appeared in Lux Magazine, October 2014

Beware of Glass Contamination by Chris Payne, Managing Director of GlassGuard.Glass contamination from lamp breakages in food manufacturing is a hazard – and it happens regularly, often with far reaching and costly consequences.

The first response is often product recall, with the likely closure of production lines and packaging plants often resulting in irreparable damage to the brand. What is certain is the loss of revenue from unscheduled closure, production wastage, and losses associated with downtime and clean up.

By ensuring all lighting installed for food applications is adequately protected from the outset, lighting professionals can help to avoid these disruptive and costly incidents.

Schemes such as BRC Global Standards – as well as many retailers’ own manufacturing standards – stipulate that all food and packaging manufacturers’ lighting should be adequately protected to minimise the risk of glass contamination from broken lamps or bulbs.

It should be observed that diffuser covers on strip lights do not provide adequate protection. Most diffuser covers simply prevent dust and water ingress, not glass contamination, which is frequently overlooked.

Extra vigilance is necessary during routine maintenance, as this is when lamp breakage is most likely to occur. When diffuser covers are removed, and unprotected glass lamps are being taken on and off site, a simple mishandling accident can result in thousands of glass particles being spread over a wide area.

IEC 61549, the industry standard for fragment retention lamps, became effective during 2010 and is now quoted in the BRC’s Guide to Lighting Best Practice written in conjunction with SLL.

Protecting personnel, profit and products has to be a priority for food manufacturers and allied industries. Using fragment-retention lamps is rather like having fire insurance; you wouldn’t cancel it just because you’ve never had a fire.

Chris Payne, Managing Director – GlassGuard®


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