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Do food manufacturers sterilize the food packaging prior to use?

sterilization

Best Answer Ryan M., 26 May 2021 - 05:53 PM

It depends on the packaging material and the application.  For sensitive products that have a long shelf-life the packaging will likely be sanitized or sterilized.  I've been a quality manager at an extended shelf-life dairy / beverage manufacturer and we sterilized our packaging just prior to filling done at the filler in a HEPA environment.  This is also normal for aseptic filling processes as any bit of potential contamination on the package will affect the shelf-life severely during ambient storage.

 

The other process where sanitizing is used is caps in beverage applications.  The capping equipment and process is generally not "as clean" as the filling equipment itself so many processes will sanitize their caps just prior to application with a sanitize chemical, ozone, or even UV.

 

MOST processes and facilities DO NOT sanitize or sterilize packaging.

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#1 saraclemens

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 03:45 PM

Hello, my staff (from Sales to Shipping) have been lead to believe that the food manufacturers are sterilizing almost all of the food packaging prior to use. I have been told otherwise, which the purpose of HACCP and GMPs in our facility. We do processing with direct contact food packaging. I am hearing it so often and from so many sources, I am wondering if there is actually any truth to this. Do food manufacturers sterilize the food packaging prior to use and if so, does everyone or just some? Thank you, Sara



#2 SQFconsultant

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 04:45 PM

If you are hearing this from so many sources, why not ask your sources if it is true and why they are doing it.

 

Sorry, to be blunt - but that is where I'd go first.

 

In secondary response - I know of no packaging nor food packager that sanitizes their packaging - with the exception of hot steam blowout of bottles and jars, really not meant to sanitize but to get any particles out prior to filling.


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#3 olenazh

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 05:36 PM

Hi Sara, welcome to our Forum! The only thing I could think would be re-usable glass bottles or jars. We use plastic bottles & cups to pack our our products, and we've never sterilized them. My other customer, ice cream manufacturer, uses plastic pails/cups - the same idea, no sterilization.



#4 saraclemens

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 05:40 PM

Thank you for the replies! 



#5 Ryan M.

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 05:53 PM   Best Answer

It depends on the packaging material and the application.  For sensitive products that have a long shelf-life the packaging will likely be sanitized or sterilized.  I've been a quality manager at an extended shelf-life dairy / beverage manufacturer and we sterilized our packaging just prior to filling done at the filler in a HEPA environment.  This is also normal for aseptic filling processes as any bit of potential contamination on the package will affect the shelf-life severely during ambient storage.

 

The other process where sanitizing is used is caps in beverage applications.  The capping equipment and process is generally not "as clean" as the filling equipment itself so many processes will sanitize their caps just prior to application with a sanitize chemical, ozone, or even UV.

 

MOST processes and facilities DO NOT sanitize or sterilize packaging.



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#6 saraclemens

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 06:11 PM

I appreciate you all taking the time to respond to me. I always assume direct contact is direct contact, however, I have been wrong before! The source of this belief may have been from one of our product lines being a dairy and that may have spread through to the rest. 

 

Thanks again! 







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