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Root Cause of Juice Concentrate Packages Bloating?

environment ph bloating packaging microbe

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#1 Melissa C

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Posted 20 June 2020 - 05:20 AM

Hi everyone, a quick question here.

 

Recently our overseas customer feedback a few packages of our products are having bloating issues. We have sent the bloated product sample to a reputable lab for testing. The result shows the TPC are very low, and both yeast & mould are ND.

 

We've consulted the lab, and their feedback is the bloating was not due microbiological issues, but it may be due to pH value or the environment. Can anyone advise on the possible reasons causing the bloating? 

 

We have been supplying this product domestically and to the neighboring countries. But there wasn't any incident of bloating issues. However it occurs when we sent it to this country. I'm not sure whether it has anything to do with the climate? Or some other issues? Is there anyway to identify the problem? 

 

Appreciate if someone can shed a light. 

 

Thanks. 

 

Mel.



#2 SQFconsultant

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Posted 20 June 2020 - 12:25 PM

What country and what are the tranport modes. How packed and for what length of time held in what temperatures or range of temperature. ?


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#3 kingstudruler1

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Posted 20 June 2020 - 06:55 PM


im not sure where they are going with a ph suggestion. Ive seen packaging distortions from micro and altitude. going from sea level to 5000ft and visa versa can cause packaging distortions.

all the items that sqfconsultant mentioned as well as the product might help.

#4 zanorias

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Posted 20 June 2020 - 08:58 PM

Product?



#5 Melissa C

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Posted 21 June 2020 - 08:31 AM

What country and what are the tranport modes. How packed and for what length of time held in what temperatures or range of temperature. ?

Hi Glenn, we are using sea freight with normal container to an East Asian country. It is concentrated juice packed in plastic bag and stored under ambient (cool and dry place). 



#6 Melissa C

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Posted 21 June 2020 - 08:35 AM

im not sure where they are going with a ph suggestion. Ive seen packaging distortions from micro and altitude. going from sea level to 5000ft and visa versa can cause packaging distortions.

all the items that sqfconsultant mentioned as well as the product might help.

Hi, both export and importing country are on flatland, and the transport was by sea freight. So it is unlikely to be due to altitude problem? 



#7 Melissa C

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Posted 21 June 2020 - 08:36 AM

Product?

Hi, it is a juice concentrate. 



#8 Slab

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Posted 21 June 2020 - 03:38 PM

Hi, Melissa;

 

You did not mention in micro-profile testing for EB, particularly coliforms. Gas-forming and lively in wide temp and pH range.

 

 


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#9 Melissa C

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Posted 22 June 2020 - 01:00 AM

Hi, Melissa;

 

You did not mention in micro-profile testing for EB, particularly coliforms. Gas-forming and lively in wide temp and pH range.

 

Hi,

 

We have tested for aerobic plate count, anaerobic plate count, yeast & mould, and mesophilic lactic acid bacteria. These tested parameters are in the normal range. 

 

On top of these parameters, can you advise what can we tested on? 



#10 Slab

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Posted 22 June 2020 - 05:23 AM

Hi, Melissa;

 

I have attached a few publications which may help. I would screen for enterobacteriacae as this encompasses a wide range of organisms e.g. coliforms, salmonella, citrobacter, e. coli, shigella...

 

Your lab would be able to advise which is most likely to occur in your product/process.

 

 

Attached File  ICMSF 2.pdf   812.8KB   10 downloads  pages 203 - 205

 

Attached File  PHLS Micro Limits.pdf   3.32MB   17 downloads

 

 

 

I meant to ask last post if you pasteurize in bulk or post packaging?


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#11 pHruit

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Posted 22 June 2020 - 08:03 AM

What specific type of packaging are you using - is this aseptic bag in box/drum?

Is it shipped ambient?

What is the road infrastructure like in the receiving country?

 

I do know of examples where bags have been fine for domestic / local international distribution, but extended transport, particularly if the roads are very rough at the receiving end, can subject the packaging to more stress than has previously been the case. This can sometimes cause very small pinhole breaches / cracks to form in the bag structure over time, which then allows contaminants in.

The way to address this is to minimise any room for movement of the inner packaging - e.g. use of (appropriate!) padding in the tops of drums to fill the gap under the lid if there is one, or very carefully sized boxes.

Changing the grade of bag film may also help, and indeed some manufacturers offer different laminate structures that range from cheap/thin that may be fine locally, through to more costly but far more robust variants that can be very useful if the product is potentially going to be subject to more physical stress in distribution.

With concentrates moved at ambient temperatures, if there is any headspace in the bag you can also potentially get condensation forming, and this can then drip back onto the surface of the concentrate. This creates regions that are slightly more dilute than the bulk of the concentrate, where it is then potentially easier for micro growth to get started as the aw is higher. This can also make representative sampling more of a challenge, as a sample taken from the "bulk" part may still show a fairly low count even thought there are parts of what would nominally seem to be a homogeneous liquid where the count is getting to a level where there is noticeable gas production.

It's therefore probably worth checking how the samples were drawn, and also worth clarifying with the lab exactly what methods they've used for the analysis - I've seen two different TVC approaches give counts that differed by 104!

It might also be useful to know what the rest of the assessment of the problem stock found - e.g.

Any sign of reduced Brix level compared to when it was packed?
Increase in lactic acid, acetic acid, and/or ethanol content?

Presence of any off-notes or unusual flavours?
 



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