During washdown, water pressure may
exceed 1,500 psi, more than enough
pressure to damage lights and other
electrical components. Lights made of
stainless steel are rugged and provide an
easy surface to clean.
Special considerations may need to
be made if your facility uses heat to treat
pests, commonly referred to as “heat
treat” or “thermal remediation.” Typically,
AC-powered low bay lighting has an operating temperature rating of around 130° F
(55° C). During thermal remediation, temperatures can elevate in excess of 140° F
(60° C), straining ballasts in metal halide
or fluorescent light fixtures. LED lights on
a supplementary DC power circuit will
withstand temperatures up to 158° F (70°
C). This is a huge advantage for producers
who regularly heat treat their facilities.
Beyond the simple price of an LED light
fixture, there are multiple factors to be
considered when comparing illumination
sources and determining overall cost of a
lighting solution. These include:
• Longevity – High quality LED lights
will last 50,000 hours or more, which
is about 5. 5 years at 100% duty cycle.
Fluorescent bulbs have a typical lifespan
of around 20,000 hours.
• Energy Consumption – LED lights use
about half of the energy of fluorescent
lights and about a quarter of the energy
of incandescent lights. With electricity
costing an average of 0.125/k W hr,
the savings offered by LEDs can be substantial over time.
• Maintenance – LED lights require no
bulb or ballast replacements over their
lifespan, resulting in significant saving
in the time and labor associated with
maintaining light fixtures.
• Environment – LED lights contain
no mercury, an environmental hazard
requiring proper handling and costly
• Light Distribution – A fluorescent light
distributes light 360° around the bulb.
Reflectors must be used to direct the
light, but most reflectors in a fluorescent
fixture will have < 0.7 reflectivity efficiency. LED lights are more directional
and offer more usable light.
• Illumination – Because of the relatively
low amounts of energy consumed, LED
lighting should be compared to other
light other sources based on the amount
of lumens rather than wattage or size.
LED lighting is a safer, more cost effective solution for meeting lighting requirements in food production facilities than traditional coated fluorescent lights. When all
the variables are considered, they become
an appealing investment offering the
added benefit of fitting into a plant’s food
safety program. Unique and creative ways
to package the solution continue to make
them more adaptable to the challenges of
the food production environment. The trend
will be for more and more LED lights to be
deployed into food and beverage facilities.
1 Food and Drug Administration. “Food Code,” U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, 2013,
2 Goldman, David P. MD, MPH, Human Health Sciences
Division, Food Safety and Inspection Service, “The
Physical Hazards of Foreign Materials,” Presentation
for the Public Meeting on Foreign Material
Contamination, September 2002
3 Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction
Clearinghouse, “Mercury Use in Lighting,” IMERC
Fact Sheet, August 2008
4 United States Department of Agriculture. “General
Specifications for Dairy Plants Approved for USDA
Inspection and Grading Service,” June 2012, Section
5 United States Department of Agriculture. “Facility
Guidelines for Meat Processing Plants,” Federal
Register Vol. 62 No. 164, August 1997