Food Engineering/Manufacturing/Sachet Filling Process


QUESTION: I just wanted to have a consultancy on a food process for packing a hot sauce into small sachet 10 grams through a vertical packing machine.

While during the process some times the sachet blown out and when testing it we found it spoiled and have bacteria.

I would appreciate assistant in the right process because i think we are missing part of the ideal process.

ANSWER: Hot sauce is not necessarily self-preserving, depending on formulation. It should have pH below 4 and probably should be heated before filling. The packaging material may be contaminated, depending on what it is and how it is handled. Some hot sauces have added preservatives, such as sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate or others. Packaging material must be handled as if it were a food ingredient - protected from contamination. Usually sauces are cooked to dissolve ingredients and to help sterilize. Added salt also serves as a preservative.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you Peter for your valuable feedback, I just wonder if there are standards for using the preservatives (measurements) and for the heating usually we don't process any of the food materials used for the sauce under heating, does the heating process effect and under what degree should be standard?

The legal maximum for approved chemical preservatives in the US is 0.1 % by weight for each one. Many firms use less because some consumers can taste high levels of some preservatives. 0.05 % is still effective. Heating is a function of time and temperature. Some typical values for foods with acid pH (<4.1) are: 160 F, 72 seconds; 170 F, 24 seconds; 180 F, 6 seconds. These are minima; longer times are common to kill spoilage microbes, which can be more resistant than pathogens. If you do not heat any ingredients or products, I think that explains why you have seen spoilage.

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J. Peter Clark


How various processed foods are made; ways to improve manufacturing; how to make a new food product.


Employment history: Research Engineer, U.S.Agricultural Research Service, Associate Professor Chemical Engineering, Virginia Tech, Director of Research, Continental Baking Company, President, Epstein Process Engineering, Inc., Vice Presdent Technology, Fluor Daniel, Inc., Consultant to the Process Industries

Organizations: American Institute of Chemical Engineers (Fellow) Institute of Food Technologists, American Association of Cereal Chemists, American Association of Candy Technologists, American Society of Agricultural Engineers,

Publications: Several Encyclopedias (Kirk and Othmer, Chemical Technology; Food Science, Food Technology and Nutrition; Wiley Encyclopedia of Food Science and Technology; Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems); five books, two book chapters; numerous journals.

Education: BSChE Notre Dame PhD University of California, Berkeley

Awards: AIChE Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Division Award 1998

Clients: Major food processing and pharamaceutical companies.

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