Our processing sequence is 1-preparation-->2-cooking-->3-Filling & Sealing-->4-Sterilization/Retort.
The issue is that some times the cooking, filling and sterilization processes are running in such a way that product in between have to wait for some time (2 to 4 hours) for the next process to be executed. Some years ago when production was not of significant quantities, this issue was not revealed so much, but not since the production volume is being increased, we have to counter it. Out team is reviewing three options to counter the situation.
1- Hot holding with temperature above 60 deg celcius(out of danger zone). The comments of our team members are against this option as they said that this is just like continued cooking which would impact on food quality.
2- Hot holding with temp between 50 to 60. This will only need to have a positive recommendation from the microbiological point of view as it will remain within danger zone.
3- Cold holding with temp between 0 to 10. This option may lead to lower F-values or longer sterilization times.
I need expert opinions to select one of the above options or we need some other way to counter our issue.
Muhammad Zeeshan Zaki.