Nine Advances in Aseptic Processing and Packaging
By Steve Smith, Processing Specialist, Purdue University
Although aseptic processing and pack- aging have been around since before the 1940s, it wasn’t until 1982 that
the U.S. retail market saw the first major
influx of retail aseptic products in the form of
juice boxes. That was due to the approval for
the use of hydrogen peroxide as a sterilant for
packaging materials. This advancement, along
with the tetra pack filler, changed the course
of food processing. This new, far less expensive package could deliver a good tasting and
nutritious beverage to consumers.
Since then, there have been many other
advances in both the processing and packaging of aseptically prepared food products.
Here are nine advancements in the processing and packaging side of aseptic processing.
High Pressure sterilization: Using very high
pressures (100,000psig and greater) has
proven to be a very useful way to pasteurize food products. There are currently retail
products available that use this technology.
However, for sterilization, two methods are
being considered: PATS (Pressure Assisted
Thermal Sterilization) and TAPS (Thermally
Assisted Pressure Sterilization).
Microwave sterilization: Microwave energy
has proven to be a rapid way to heat food
products in a continuous flow without line
Ohmic sterilization: Another rapid means
of heating food products with no restrictions
in line. This technology has been around for
years and has not yet achieved its potential.
Filtration: There is a lot of potential to aseptically add heat-labile ingredients to food products without heat treatment.
Particulate low acid foods: Why has it taken
so long to introduce a low acid particulate
food product to the U.S. market? What are
the hurdles? When might we expect that first
product on the grocery shelf? While there
have been some impediments to assuring the
sterility of particles in a continuous flow, there
have also been advancements in this technology such as microbiological markers and passive RFID temperature sensors.
Package Chemical sterilization: Hydrogen
Peroxide is not the only option anymore.
Electron Beam package sterilization: There
are other options besides
chemicals for the ster-
ilization of packaging.
There have been advancements made in
e-beams and x-rays to sterilize packages in
an aseptic system.
Recyclability: Ecological concerns have
required us to take a close look as to how
packaging can be more “earth friendly.” It’s
important to review packages made from
trees from responsibly managed forests and
package recycling efforts.
Bag fitments: The convenience of bag-in-box
has been improving because of advances in
the attached valves.
Each of these solutions can help advance
the aseptic process for food manufacturers.
During PROCESS EXPO University we will
evaluate the benefits of each solution and the
best fit for processors based on their products.
About the author
Steve Smith is a Processing Specialist
at Purdue University. He will be delivering a
presentation on aseptic processing and packaging as part of PROCESS EXPO University at
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