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Moisture content in spice pastes

spices pastes standards moisture content water activity

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#1 kpapil

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 02:24 PM

Hi everyone, I have made my way into a quality control role at a small company but have no formal training. I am learning on the fly and this forum has been a great help. Currently, the company is selling spice pastes and need to know the quality standards in regards to water activity and moisture content. They are one time use and in single serve packages. The supplier provided us with their water content report and moisture content and stated the pH is 4.2 - 4.4 and the brix around 20. They want me to find a standard to ensure the water activity and moisture content are in line with a target standard for pastes. We are in Canada. The products contain spices, water and oil. Some have coconut vinegar as well. Please let me know what other information is necessary. Best, Kim



#2 Scampi

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 02:32 PM

Are you the manufacturer?


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#3 kpapil

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 02:35 PM

No we are not the manufacturer. We purchase the products ready made and packaged then sell the finished products.

 

However the company wants to create their own standards in case they need to change manufacturers to keep the recipe the same and as stable as possible.



#4 Scampi

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 02:56 PM

So your likely not going to find a standard for pastes as each recipe will have its own variabilities (pH, brix, aw etc.).  Do you control the recipe?

 

Clearly these are acidified products---there should be a scheduled process for these that the manufacturer should not hesitate to share----that's where the important information is located including time/temp processing to make the pouches shelf stable.  THIS IS VITAL as it will affect the parameters above and vice versa and any change to the recipe could affect the process and make the finished product non shelf stable.

 

https://www.inspecti...7/1375726957993

 

I'm assuming since you said you are new that you'd need to start at the beginning-----please correct me if I'm wrong


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#5 kpapil

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 03:21 PM

Thank you for the link, very helpful!

 

Yes, very new and the company did not have a department before so I also have to teach everyone what I'm learning but finding the right information is quite challenging.

 

 

So, I will ask the manufacturer for their process plan indicating time and temp controls during processing.

 

The manufacturer also states that their spice pastes have 0.95 - 0.97 water activity and 0.70 - 0.68 moisture content. 

 

If their pH is low, their water activity above .85 and their thermal processing at the recommended limits, can I conclude that the product is shelf stable? And indicate all of these factors for our own 'standard'?



#6 Scampi

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 04:22 PM

Generally speaking yes- that would be a safe assumption----------------the only caveat here is that the thermal processing makes sense for

a) the product in question

b) the equipment that they are using--weather or not it can handle the number of pouches it processes

 

 

 

I know in Ontario there are a few companies that do aseptic packing for copacking only (none of their own at all) and have some very sophisticated equipment to run off items like mustard, mayo, hot sauce etc.

 

For you, its probably not a bad idea to ask for the HACCP plan from your supplier as well (if you don't already have it) it will help you to understand how your product is actually made

 

If the relationship is really good between your employer and the manufacturer, their quality department should be more than happy to walk you through it-----in this case-your the customer and that should be respected!

 

There is a ton of great information on the web for acidified foods processing specifically at North Caroline State University---sometimes you can luck out and one of the instructors will actually email you back

 

Acidified foods are not new and when i was packing pickles, I was still referencing studies from the 1940s as the principles have not changed

 

There are a lot of us on here with years of experience in various food stuffs-you've come to the right place!


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#7 Charles.C

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Posted 20 January 2021 - 08:27 AM

So your likely not going to find a standard for pastes as each recipe will have its own variabilities (pH, brix, aw etc.).  Do you control the recipe?

 

Clearly these are acidified products---there should be a scheduled process for these that the manufacturer should not hesitate to share----that's where the important information is located including time/temp processing to make the pouches shelf stable.  THIS IS VITAL as it will affect the parameters above and vice versa and any change to the recipe could affect the process and make the finished product non shelf stable.

 

https://www.inspecti...7/1375726957993

 

I'm assuming since you said you are new that you'd need to start at the beginning-----please correct me if I'm wrong

 

Hi Scampi,

 

The (generic?) snag with above, and presumably similar links, is that despite the comforting intro one cannot be assured as to current accuracy since the onward/updating link simply leads to an indexing/search Page !.

 

Excellent method for passing/dispensing of the buck !.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#8 Scampi

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Posted 20 January 2021 - 01:36 PM

Canada just went through a massive overhaul of the federal requirements whereby they now require ALL companies who trade outside their own province to follow the same set of rules.................and in doing so, they've had to "archive" a bunch of stuff.........but you still may need it

 

 

In this case I wouldn't call it passing the buck------------I firmly believe that you shouldn't just start selling acidified foods if you don't know what you're doing

 

Botulism is the pathogen of main concern, and if the recipe and process aren't just so-----you'll kill someone

 

The clause still applies to follow a scheduled process even though it's been archived. There is some VERY sneaky language in our new federal regulations-it's a wonder to me that HACCP consultants haven't been oooozing out from the muck to take advantage of the current situation!!!!!!!!!!!


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