Food Engineering Reviews

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 18–35 | Cite as

Hygienic Design and Microbial Control of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems for Food Processing and Packaging Plants

  • Antonio López-Gómez
  • Antonio M. Castaño-Villar
  • Alfredo Palop
  • Fulgencio Marín-Iniesta
Review Article


The critical control points of the refrigeration and air conditioning systems serving the food processing and packaging plants are analyzed from the hygienic viewpoint. They identified the problems of hygienic design of the various components of refrigeration systems and air conditioning installations, and several solutions are described. The lack of hygienic design of air conditioning and refrigeration systems, and their inadequate cleaning and disinfection procedures, can cause significant economic losses and epidemic diseases in people, employees, or visitors, or in the final food consumers. So, the present manuscript analyses: (1) the microbial control in refrigeration systems, including the control of Legionella, and the limitations of using biocides embedded in plastic materials (for cooling tower filling and air ducts in air conditioning systems); (2) the hygienic design of evaporative coolers (evaporative condensers and cooling towers) as a new way for controlling Legionella contamination; and (3) the microbial contamination and hygienic design of air conditioning systems for food processing and packaging rooms, including the microbial control in the air by means of UV lamps, essential oil aerosolization, and filtration. The interest of the clean rooms and microbiologically controlled environments for food processing and packaging is explained through a case study of slicing and packaging of ready-to-eat meat products.


Hygienic design Microbial control Refrigeration systems Air conditioning systems Food processing and packaging plants 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio López-Gómez
    • 1
  • Antonio M. Castaño-Villar
    • 1
  • Alfredo Palop
    • 1
  • Fulgencio Marín-Iniesta
    • 2
  1. 1.Food Engineering and Agricultural Equipment DepartmentUniversidad Politécnica de CartagenaCartagenaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition, Bromatology and Food TechnologyUniversidad de MurciaMurciaSpain

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