There are 3 criteria for a low-acid packaged product to be considered aseptic. A) The product must be commercially sterilized before it is filled into the container. B) The environment in which the product is filled must be commercially sterilized, basically like a sterile operating room. C) The container must be commercially sterilized before the products are filled. Criteria A and B are relatively easy to achieve...the real challenge is C.
Low acid products have been packaged aseptically for many years in the
Though a variety of techniques—including such things as irradiation—have been experimented with, the major viable option today is chemical sterilants. Paracetic acid is a chemical sterilant that has been used for sterilizing PET bottles for many years throughout
B. cereus. In fact we can thank two companies for successfully commercializing these nontoxigenic surrogates for this application: Ecolab and FMC. In addition to the FDA, the federal EPA allowed the use of the non-toxigenic sterilants in the
As of the writing of this article, the major step left is for a line to be validated by the FDA and for the state EPA (where the line is installed) to allow for the use and effective disposal of these chemicals. One paracetic acid aseptic filling line is installed in
milk-based coffee drinks, etc.), unsweetened green tea (which is a low-acid product) and a number of other products. (There is another sterilant that may have potential in the
Marketers will have to be savvy in effectively marketing these types of products to consumers. Chocolate-flavored milk and smoothies may still need to be refrigerated to be sold to consumers who want to drink them chilled on the spot. The overall potential cost savings that can be realized by manufacturers will be huge. It is difficult to determine how significant this development will be. The Japanese have been aseptically processing and packaging low-acid beverages such as green tea in PET bottles for many years, and it has been very successful. Rest assured this technology will have a major impact on the
Barry Goldbergis president of TAPPA Group International, an international marketing consulting firm. David Johnson is managing director of Strategic Development and Effective Business Support, a UK marketing consultancy that is TAPPA’s European affiliate. TAPPA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.