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Mold Growth on corn husks


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#1 The Food Scientist

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 08:57 PM

Hi all! Anyone with a Food science/technology background can assist me with this?

 

 So I have been recently hired at a company that repacks corn husks (made for tamales). We buy these husks in bulk (upon receiving we check humidity). We then repack them in stacks. now they are stored in the warehouse which is about 75F. Today we saw two pallets of husks full of mold. They should last around 6 months in good quality. Now the company has set a standard of humidity being in the range of 12-24%. Now from my Food science knowledge, some molds are able to grow in low moisture, AND most molds are mesophilic (grow in temp range of 60-86F). Can anyone suggest to me how can we work on extending the shelf life? Solving this issue or minimizing it? I would assume cold store them, but I dont want this to affect their quality.  I dont have much knowledge with corn husks, I am not really Hispanic/Latino :) Thanks!


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#2 Hank Major

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 09:14 PM

Theoretically they should have been washed in salty water at some point along the process, if my memory serves correctly.



#3 matthewcc

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 02:04 PM

I would establish a specification that the water activity must be not more than 0.60, take a representative sample upon receiving, and make sure it meets that requirement.  Nothing can grow at that low of a water activity.  That way if it arrives with water activity that's too high you can show your supplier that it arrived that way so as to allow the growth of mold.



#4 The Food Scientist

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 02:17 PM

I would establish a specification that the water activity must be not more than 0.60, take a representative sample upon receiving, and make sure it meets that requirement.  Nothing can grow at that low of a water activity.  That way if it arrives with water activity that's too high you can show your supplier that it arrived that way so as to allow the growth of mold.

 

That would be an option, however they do absorb moisture from the surroundings over time, therefore grow mold. I would think control the environment first? I'm in FL so our humidity here is almost always high. Thanks!


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#5 selin

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 08:13 PM

Hi Food Scientist,

 

Mold growth is a very common problem for Corn Husks. Normally, main Corn Husk suppliers use Sulphur dioxide treatment before packaging step but however, product may still have mold growth during storage because of the high moisture levels of product. I always have same problem with these products and trying to find a solution, too.

My ideas;

 

Product moisture must be kept between %12-%15

Storage conditions must be: Relative Humidity 60-70% and Temperature 50-70 °F

 

Also, if  you are packaging products with plastic bags you can try to place small desiccants or oxygen absorbers in each bag. This may help too. link for detailed info: Pack Fresh Usa

Hopefully, you solve the problem :) 

 

   



#6 selin

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 06:07 PM

Hi Food Scientist,

 

How is it going  :shades:

 

Could you find a solution for this problem? 






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