Cryogenic chemicals such as liquid nitrogen, liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) and solid CO2 (dry ice) are often used in food processing. This includes grinding, mixing, coating, freezing and packaging foods. Food processors use these liquids to produce a variety of foods, including meat, poultry, and prepackaged meals.

To assist member companies in preparing staff to work with these chemical systems, a resource has been developed by USPOULTRY in concert with safety professionals. The resource is a collaboration of USPOULTRY and the National Association of SARA Title III Program Officials (NASTTPO) and is meant to inform industry and community emergency planning personnel and first responders on cryogenic chemicals and emergency response actions. NASTTPO is made up of members and staff of State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs), Tribal Emergency Response Commissions (TERCs), Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) and various federal agencies. Cooperating and coordinating with the emergency response community provides the opportunity to advance their knowledge of poultry processing facilities and the operations that occur within them. This, in turn, can benefit their response efforts and enhance their safety if an event occurs that requires a response by emergency personnel.

There are additional items the poultry industry can focus on to facilitate using these chemicals safely. First, provide an industry tabletop exercise program for emergency preparation and planning with local emergency officials. Second, develop an inspection and testing program for cryogenic liquid freezers and associated equipment that will be comprised of routine and preventive maintenance intervals and equipment testing of key safety features. Third and finally, incorporate an industry safety management system that will focus on employee training, auditing and risk analysis of cryogenic chemical systems. This program will include the importance of adequate ventilation and air monitoring in areas where cryogenic equipment is in operation.

The resource is available free of charge to USPOULTRY members and can be accessed by clicking here.

Source: U.S. Poultry & Egg Association