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Packing process for a new beverage

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Levolas

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 01:46 AM

Hi

 

My plant wants to start bottling in aluminum bottles a product that is neutral in pH and has 1.5-3% sugar, it has some flavors in it, no carbonation.

 

I'm trying to avoid aseptic filling as we don't have this tech and I really don't want to even mention it as needed, but I'm not sure if we can pack this without it.

 

The product is basically water, sugar, flavor and it's shelf stable.

 

I was thinking of doing HTST but VAT pasteurization would be amazing since we already have this equipment

Other options could be tunnel pasteurization in the finished product, but I'm worried of C.botulinum as it won't get killed in the tunnel. 

 

Another option maybe possible is to retort the bottles, since they are aluminum they might be fine.

 

Please advice!

Thanks



Guppy

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 10:18 AM

What makes it shelf stable on a non-aseptic line? No potassium sorbate or anything? Or is the filling line aseptic?



Levolas

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 02:05 PM

Because of the pH, I don't think those will cut it, but we are open to adding any preservative. If we pasteurize the closed bottles that would do it as well



SQFconsultant

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 03:37 PM

Glass is better.

Especially with what shall be coming out concerning alum., by next year. 


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Levolas

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 03:50 PM

What do you mean by concerning aluminum? 

I'll bring glass bottle to the table. 



Brothbro

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 03:56 PM

I'm not a beverage expert by any means but it's hard for me to imagine a neutral pH beverage with sugar and no carbonation to be considered "shelf-stable" if it doesn't go through some kind of commercial sterility step (UHT sterilization, retort, etc). Pasteurization will reduce the microbial load, but at ambient temperature the microorganisms will simply bounce back given the neutral pH and sugar. Sounds like an ideal habitat for microbial growth. Keeping your product refrigerated would slow this growth, but you'd likely be looking at a shelf life of ~5-10 days if I could hazard a guess.

 

Before you go all-in on this product concept I'd launch a project to get to the bottom of what your shelf-life really would be through trial runs and microbial testing.



Levolas

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 04:40 PM

Why would the microorganism bounce back if we retort this? it's 121C, completely sterile inside the bottle/can



Brothbro

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Posted 25 April 2024 - 04:58 PM

Why would the microorganism bounce back if we retort this? it's 121C, completely sterile inside the bottle/can

 

If you retort the entire product+package then you're right it should be fine, maybe I was misreading your initial post. It seemed to imply that you'd just be pasteurizing the product followed by filling into a non-sterile container.

 

For shelf stability in a product like this I believe you would need a commercially sterile product, which can be achieved by sterilizing the beverage (UHT) followed by aseptic filling, or filling the beverage into bottles and then retorting the entire product to sterilize it in the container. The next step from there would be to worry about package integrity

 

Just remember that when you're dealing with commercial sterility a whole new set of regulations are involved. Make sure to look into how to properly design a thermal process and validate it, along with the testing/checks that would need to be done routinely to prove each batch has been processed effectively.


Edited by Brothbro, 25 April 2024 - 05:01 PM.


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Posted 25 April 2024 - 05:53 PM

Here to completely second BrothBro

 

You will not be happy with your end result  AND you need to have a "scheduled process" that a process specialist has assisted with 

 

Federal Regulations require commercial processors of shelf stable acidified foods and low-acid canned foods in a hermetically sealed container to be sold in the United States to register each establishment and file scheduled processes with the Food and Drug Administration for each product, product style, container size and type and processing method (21 CFR 108). This website contains instructions for establishment registration and process filing along with other information useful to manufacturers of these types of products. 

A low-acid canned food (LACF) is any food (other than alcoholic beverages) with a finished equilibrium pH greater than 4.6 and a water activity greater than 0.85, excluding tomatoes and tomato products having a finished equilibrium pH less than 4.7.

An acidified food (AF) is a low-acid food to which acid(s) or acid food(s) are added and which has a finished equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below and a water activity (aw) greater than 0.85.

 

https://www.fda.gov/...ory-information


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Levolas

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Posted 29 April 2024 - 11:07 PM

I understand this perfectly,
Just to clear my head around some stuff, why water can be not aseptically filled? It has pH around 7, low acid,
Could we pack this product following water guidelines? As it's sugar water?

I'm also offering to acidify this, pasteurize and either add velcorin or preservatives, which would be much easier.



Brothbro

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Posted 30 April 2024 - 05:20 PM

I understand this perfectly,
Just to clear my head around some stuff, why water can be not aseptically filled? It has pH around 7, low acid,
Could we pack this product following water guidelines? As it's sugar water?

I'm also offering to acidify this, pasteurize and either add velcorin or preservatives, which would be much easier.

 

The key difference with bottled water is that it contains no nutrients which can support bacterial growth. As soon as you add any other ingredients to this mixture (ie sugar), you suddenly create an ideal environment for bacterial growth. That's why you need commercial sterility in low-acid beverages to achieve shelf stability.

 

Acidified or preservative-added beverages may behave differently, but remember those are unique cases as well specific to your formulation. Bottom line is you really should be working with a process authority or other equivalently trained professional to develop this process.



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Levolas

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Posted 02 May 2024 - 09:25 PM

Glass is better.

Especially with what shall be coming out concerning alum., by next year. 

What did you mean by this? I would be definitely interested in learning more about aluminum issues!

Thanks





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