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Frozen shelf life validation of Soup samples

HACCP MICROBIOLOGY SHELF LIFE SOUP CFIA FOOD SAFETY

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#1 Foodprep

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 08:16 PM

Hello,

 

My employer wants to sell our vegetable soups as Frozen. Currently, we sell them refrigerated with 28 days shelf life. Our micro data has been pretty good. We have some clients that want our frozen soup right away so, I won't really have a year to wait for the lab results ( we are thinking 1 year frozen shelf life). The plan is that our frozen soup goes directly to the consumer. Currently we have cooking instructions to heat to 74C. We are thinking about adding defrost instructions along the lines of "Can be kept frozen for a year from date of manufacturing. If frozen, heat to 74C and consume within 7 days".  If you see any issues with this, please share so that I can focus on that area. I would like to know if I am  missing anything in the process of achieving this. 

 

I also need to update my HACCP Plan, I believe the hazards still remain the same? What kind of new hazards should I be looking at for the frozen product? 

 

Oh! forgot to add that product that will go to the consumer is not canned or vacuum sealed. It is stored in a plastic container however, we do have  vacuum packed bags that will need to be sold frozen but not directly to consumer so, I am not concerned about the label statement for that but the frozen hazards would apply.  

 

Thanks, 

K



#2 Charles.C

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 08:35 PM

Hello,

 

My employer wants to sell our vegetable soups as Frozen. Currently, we sell them refrigerated with 28 days shelf life. Our micro data has been pretty good. We have some clients that want our frozen soup right away so, I won't really have a year to wait for the lab results ( we are thinking 1 year frozen shelf life). The plan is that our frozen soup goes directly to the consumer. Currently we have cooking instructions to heat to 74C. We are thinking about adding defrost instructions along the lines of "Can be kept frozen for a year from date of manufacturing. If frozen, heat to 74C and consume within 7 days".  If you see any issues with this, please share so that I can focus on that area. I would like to know if I am  missing anything in the process of achieving this. 

 

I also need to update my HACCP Plan, I believe the hazards still remain the same? What kind of new hazards should I be looking at for the frozen product? 

 

Oh! forgot to add that product that will go to the consumer is not canned or vacuum sealed. It is stored in a plastic container however, we do have  vacuum packed bags that will need to be sold frozen but not directly to consumer so, I am not concerned about the label statement for that but the frozen hazards would apply.  

 

Thanks, 

K

Hi K,

 

Is the soup processed so as to be classified RTE or NRTE ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 kfromNE

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 09:21 PM

Where I work - we produce a retail 3lb frozen soup in a bag. It's a Non-RTE product. It has a shelf life of 180 days. Not exactly sure how that was decided. The R & D team came up with that number. It could be based upon quality which you'll want to look at. There are heating instructions on the package - 165 F.

 

We also produce non-rte soups packaged in plastic cups. These are sold refrigerated. We do blast freeze these to get them down under 40F then refrigerated. From eating them, there is a little water separation but not bad.

 

Not sure how the cups would handle the freezer for long periods of time.

 

As for the HACCP plans - both have the same CCPs.


Edited by kfromNE, 06 August 2020 - 09:22 PM.


#4 Charles.C

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 09:27 PM

Where I work - we produce a retail 3lb frozen soup in a bag. It's a Non-RTE product. It has a shelf life of 180 days. Not exactly sure how that was decided. The R & D team came up with that number. It could be based upon quality which you'll want to look at. There are heating instructions on the package - 165 F.

 

We also produce non-rte soups packaged in plastic cups. These are sold refrigerated. We do blast freeze these to get them down under 40F then refrigerated. From eating them, there is a little water separation but not bad.

 

Not sure how the cups would handle the freezer for long periods of time.

 

As for the HACCP plans - both have the same CCPs.

Hi kfromNE,

 

My query was driven by this thread -

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...nd-temeprature/

 

Logically for NRTE, the heating step is IMO not a CCP but an auditor might base any conclusion/labelling on the "process".

 

I recall some previous US threads here where elements of (deliberate?) mislabelling  entered such discussions but no idea of Canadian viewpoints.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#5 Foodprep

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 07:27 PM

Hi K,

 

Is the soup processed so as to be classified RTE or NRTE ?

Hi Charles, It is NRTE because we have the cooking instruction on the package. 



#6 Foodprep

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 07:27 PM

Hi Charles, It is NRTE because we have the cooking instruction on the package. 

The instruction is Heat to 74C before eating



#7 Foodprep

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 07:33 PM

Where I work - we produce a retail 3lb frozen soup in a bag. It's a Non-RTE product. It has a shelf life of 180 days. Not exactly sure how that was decided. The R & D team came up with that number. It could be based upon quality which you'll want to look at. There are heating instructions on the package - 165 F.

 

We also produce non-rte soups packaged in plastic cups. These are sold refrigerated. We do blast freeze these to get them down under 40F then refrigerated. From eating them, there is a little water separation but not bad.

 

Not sure how the cups would handle the freezer for long periods of time.

 

As for the HACCP plans - both have the same CCPs.

Hi kfromNE,

 

We have a very similar process. Our instructions are also 165F or 74C. We blast freeze our soup to bring it down to under 40F as well. 

So, I am guessing the only thing I need to update on my HACCP plan is the shelf life, and update any hazards associated with freezing and everything else remains the same, eh?  Thanks much!! K



#8 Charles.C

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 03:29 AM

The instruction is Heat to 74C before eating

 

Hi Foodprep,

 

So the process for RTE and NRTE is identical except for the freezing stage and subsequent temperature of storage (and possibly some additional usage of vacuum packing) ? And shelf life of course.

 

I guess it  ultimately depends on how Canada "interprets"  the classifications/labelling of  RTE and NRTE  (afaik, a similar dichotomy exists between FDA and USDA)

 

I also did wonder as to how many consumers understand or are capable of heating (all of?) a product to 74 degC. I appreciate the theoretical intention (possibly a Regulatory requirement?) but the text seems rather impractical for a typical consumer. Some analysis is offered here -

 

https://www.livestro...ok-frozen-soup/


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#9 kfromNE

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 01:46 PM

Hi kfromNE,

 

My query was driven by this thread -

 

https://www.ifsqn.co...nd-temeprature/

 

Logically for NRTE, the heating step is IMO not a CCP but an auditor might base any conclusion/labelling on the "process".

 

I recall some previous US threads here where elements of (deliberate?) mislabelling  entered such discussions but no idea of Canadian viewpoints.

I get it completely. You are right. In the USA, the requirements are different if it is a RTE vs NRTE. That is why I specified the type we did.



#10 El Molino

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Posted 12 August 2020 - 08:45 PM

Ironically my employer wants to do the opposite. We have frozen bone broth (class as soup) that we sell frozen and now he wants to have the bone broth sold as refrigerated for a client.

we have the same dilemma of validation of the process to meet regulatory requirements of the cooling temperatures. The consumer will then reheat the product at home.

I have argued the broth must meet the same cooling requirements as the soup category Class 1 which is high risk . Cool down from 54 to 4 deg C within 7 hours.

So we place it in the freezer with   data loggers to monitor the temperature drop to 4 deg C and remove it when it attains 4 deg or less then move to a cooler to maintain the 4 deg C.

We also use freezer grade plastic cups that will not shatter if they are dropped when frozen (Plastipak).



#11 Charles.C

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 06:03 AM

Ironically my employer wants to do the opposite. We have frozen bone broth (class as soup) that we sell frozen and now he wants to have the bone broth sold as refrigerated for a client.

we have the same dilemma of validation of the process to meet regulatory requirements of the cooling temperatures. The consumer will then reheat the product at home.

I have argued the broth must meet the same cooling requirements as the soup category Class 1 which is high risk . Cool down from 54 to 4 deg C within 7 hours.

So we place it in the freezer with   data loggers to monitor the temperature drop to 4 deg C and remove it when it attains 4 deg or less then move to a cooler to maintain the 4 deg C.

We also use freezer grade plastic cups that will not shatter if they are dropped when frozen (Plastipak).

 

Thks for the input.

 

There have been several discussions on cooling time requirements here also. It's another debated topic. From memory, the theorists generally advocate a criterion based on generation time of C.perfringens (maybe meat products only).

 

With respect to current thread, I  recall posting the rather "mind-bending"  USDA evaluation Chart attached below in an analogous previous thread (ie lower part left column).

 

Attached File  USDA labelling options.pdf   26.21KB   5 downloads


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#12 Foodprep

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Posted 14 August 2020 - 04:04 PM

Ironically my employer wants to do the opposite. We have frozen bone broth (class as soup) that we sell frozen and now he wants to have the bone broth sold as refrigerated for a client.

we have the same dilemma of validation of the process to meet regulatory requirements of the cooling temperatures. The consumer will then reheat the product at home.

I have argued the broth must meet the same cooling requirements as the soup category Class 1 which is high risk . Cool down from 54 to 4 deg C within 7 hours.

So we place it in the freezer with   data loggers to monitor the temperature drop to 4 deg C and remove it when it attains 4 deg or less then move to a cooler to maintain the 4 deg C.

We also use freezer grade plastic cups that will not shatter if they are dropped when frozen (Plastipak).

 

We follow similar process using the datalogger to monitor except we drop our temperature to 4C in 6 hours. Shatterproof containers is a good point. I didn't think of that! What's the shelf life of refrigerated and frozen broths? 



#13 El Molino

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Posted 19 August 2020 - 09:05 PM

We follow similar process using the datalogger to monitor except we drop our temperature to 4C in 6 hours. Shatterproof containers is a good point. I didn't think of that! What's the shelf life of refrigerated and frozen broths? 

We had our customer specify that they wanted a labeling of 1 year shelf life for the frozen broth - we did not do a formal shelf life study - the lab took a day 0 sample and then has done a 30, 60, and 90 day micro analysis to determine continuity of quality and micro counts. then it can be extrapolated to a year. However, the flash cooled is another story and we want to determine if 90 chilled is the most - I don't think a retailer wants to hold inventory long than that .



#14 Charles.C

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 06:21 AM

We had our customer specify that they wanted a labeling of 1 year shelf life for the frozen broth - we did not do a formal shelf life study - the lab took a day 0 sample and then has done a 30, 60, and 90 day micro analysis to determine continuity of quality and micro counts. then it can be extrapolated to a year. However, the flash cooled is another story and we want to determine if 90 chilled is the most - I don't think a retailer wants to hold inventory long than that .

 

Hi El Molino,

 

I deduce you have succeeded in selecting some particular quality parameter , eg micro count, which, at some typical, constant frozen storage temperature, is increasing (??)  sufficiently consistently with time over a 3-month period to enable a  prediction of its value after one year. This value is then presumably compared to some pre-defined maximum  limit.

 

May i enquire how you do it since IMEX of frozen foods (not soups) I am surprised that APC data would enable such a calculation.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#15 El Molino

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Posted 20 August 2020 - 08:29 PM

I deduce you have succeeded in selecting some particular quality parameter , eg micro count, which, at some typical, constant frozen storage temperature, is increasing (??)  sufficiently consistently with time over a 3-month period to enable a  prediction of its value after one year. This value is then presumably compared to some pre-defined maximum  limit.

 

May i enquire how you do it since IMEX of frozen foods (not soups) I am surprised that APC data would enable such a calculation

 

Charles C. as to your question regarding Micros - we use the Health Canada (2005) specifications for RTE for our broth - there are no micro standards for this product classification - as it is already cooked and cooled as regulations state (CFIA) we have to class it as RTE - we do not rely only on APC - we do a full micro including C. perfrengins



#16 Charles.C

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Posted 21 August 2020 - 03:51 AM

 

I deduce you have succeeded in selecting some particular quality parameter , eg micro count, which, at some typical, constant frozen storage temperature, is increasing (??)  sufficiently consistently with time over a 3-month period to enable a  prediction of its value after one year. This value is then presumably compared to some pre-defined maximum  limit.

 

May i enquire how you do it since IMEX of frozen foods (not soups) I am surprised that APC data would enable such a calculation

 

Charles C. as to your question regarding Micros - we use the Health Canada (2005) specifications for RTE for our broth - there are no micro standards for this product classification - as it is already cooked and cooled as regulations state (CFIA) we have to class it as RTE - we do not rely only on APC - we do a full micro including C. perfrengins

 

 

Hi El Molino,

 

Thks for info.

 

Perhaps i should rephrase my last query -

 

May i enquire how you do it since IMEX of frozen foods (not soups) I am surprised that APC data   any microbiological measurements  would enable such a calculation (since no growth at <= -18degC).

(ASLT is possible but this involves experimentation over a range of storage temperatures eg -

Attached File  ASLT.PNG   39.08KB   0 downloads

 

 

IMEX shelf lives of frozen foods are usually based on non-micro criteria although the product is additionally required to comply with its associated micro.specification at the end of its designated shelf life.

(I anticipate that you do have a micro. specification even if not required by Health Canada)

 

JFI,  IT sites give soup shelf lifes mostly ranging from 2-6 months with varying (depending on content) organoleptic discouragements for longer periods although no problems mentioned  regarding safety.

 

eg 

 

Food Storage Chart – Shelf Life of Food  – Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Char

 

Food Storage Guidelines are important for your health.  You can help keep your refrigerated food from spoiling by following safe storage time limits.   When freezing food it helps to keep it safe indefinitely so it is not important if a date expires after food is frozen.  The recommended storage times are for quality only.  Storage times are from date of purchase unless specified on chart.

Storage does not improve the quality of any food, nor does the quality of a food decrease significantly during storage.  Be sure to store the food  properly and use within the recommended time frame.  Maintaining a food’s quality depends on several factors:  the quality of the raw product; the procedures used processing; the way the food is stored; and the length of storage.  The recommended food storage guidelines  takes these factors into consideration.

( Re - ^^^^[blue] can be debatable IMO)

 

 

 

Attached File  soup shelf lifes.PNG   20.81KB   0 downloads

 

https://whatscooking...reezerChart.htm


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C






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