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pH requirements for a shelf-stable beverage

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#1 hsa


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Posted 11 June 2020 - 10:51 PM

I am developing a shel-stable beverage. ingredients will be mixed in to a tea and filled. Current pH is 4.8, we are planning to lower it to 4.5. I was looking at pH of commercial products , those mostly around 3.15-3.5 or lower, confused if we need to be below 3.5 or 4.6? 


We have two flavors: 

Ingredients: brewed tea, critic acid, flavor. 

Ingredients: brewed tea, critic acid, agave syrup, flavor



Do we need to add another preservative to it? We don't want to store and transport it non-refrigerated. 


Thank you !

#2 pHruit


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Posted 12 June 2020 - 08:33 AM

The answer to most of your questions is perhaps "maybe" ;)

The 4.6 limit for the US is due to the transition into acid foodstuffs. Beyond that it can be made to work in a number of different ways, depending on processing/packaging types available, formulation preferences etc.

Consider e.g. UHT milk is shelf-stable and doesn't use preservative, but definitely isn't low pH.

You may well be able to hot-fill (or pasteurised in bottle) and not need preservative, but this is obviously reliant on having the facilities and packaging to do so.

It may therefore be useful to know a bit more about your process - if/how you're doing the heat treatment, how you're filling, what packaging (PET/glass etc) you're aiming to use.

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