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  • Nathalie NM

Preventing dust explosions is of utmost importance in the food industry.

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

It is of utmost importance to acknowledge the potential hazards of combustible materials in the food industry, particularly concerning the risk of explosions and fires. These dangers are most commonly associated with dusty and powdered substances, which, when exposed to an ignition, can result in an explosive reaction if the concentration of dust in the air falls within the explosion limits. Notable examples of such combustible dust in the food industry include flour, custard powder, instant coffee, sugar, dried milk, potato powder and soup powder. The mixing or suspending of combustible substances in the air at optimal concentrations or their confinement in a vessel or building can result in explosions and fireballs upon ignition. Flour and provender milling, sugar grinding, the spray drying of milk and instant coffee, and the conveyance and storage of whole grains and finely divided materials, are among the standard processes that generate explosible dust in the food industry.

How to reduce the risk of explosions.

Fit silos or bins with explosion relief and vent to an unoccupied place of safety, preferably outside the building. Ensure that the venting system is designed to an acceptable standard. Vent openings should be unrestricted to allow the free venting of an explosion. Protective systems such as explosion relief panels need to be ATEX certified.

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