Food processing advances have significantly changed the way we handle and package food. One essential technology is aseptic processing. One may wonder about the word “aseptic,” and a biomedical meaning rings. But yes, the food industry also uses aseptic technique. Anything that secures health and well-being, contamination is one to avoid. Before you look for an aseptic fruit puree for sale or any juice or concentrate for that matter, it is helpful to learn more about the process.
Aseptic Processing Defined
Aseptic processing is a processing and packaging technique that utilizes sterile containers and hermetic (airtight) sealing. “Aseptic” means the absence of pathogens such as bacteria and viruses that can cause illnesses or other health issues. A standard in the healthcare industry, it is also used widely in food packaging and preparation.
In this process, a commercially sterile product is prepared and packed into sterilized containers. The package is hermetically sealed using a sterelized closure to prevent any form of recontamination. The whole process involves the use of short-time high temperature procedure to retain the sterility of the environment.
On Food Safety
Aseptic processing is simply a method to safely process food before it is packaged. Most packed food goes through this process, especially liquid food. Beverages, purees, juices, and concentrates are the most commonly packed aseptically.
Food safety is primal in aseptic processing. Many kinds of food that are mass-produced are very perishable or have short shelf life when unprocessed. To reach consumers, these kinds of food have to travel long distances and preservation is key. While there are reliable processing techniques such as pasteurization and retorting, aseptic processing allows sterilization separately for the product and the package. This guarantees that everything the food product touches is clean and safe.
On Food Quality
With safe food comes quality. Many processing techniques go through a lengthy procedure of being handled, packed, and transported from unit process to unit process. But with aseptic processing, sterilizing the food, the package, and the environment is far quicker. Since they have been processed less, you get better quality.
Materials used in aseptic processing also contribute to product quality. Apart from the sterilized equipment and environment, the use of a rigid glass, metal containers, flexible polymeric materials, and other plastic composites permits cost savings and convenience that do not sacrifice quality.
On Cost Efficiency
Compared to other packaging techniques such as canning, there is no need for additional energy when processing aseptically. While traditional processing would need more energy to heat and sterilize large amounts of prepackaged food, aseptic technique uses the short-time thermal process. That alone reduces operational costs to the packaging company.
More so, there is a corresponding cost savings in terms of transportation and storage. Most food going through aseptic technique does not require refrigeration as they go directly to the shelves. Against frozen products, this is a clear advantage on refrigeration costs.
Aseptic processing is indeed an optimized processing technique. Prolonging the storage life of products, achieving food quality and safety, and decreasing cost using a highly efficient technology are the hallmarks of the modern food revolution. The objective of producing food en masse and distributing it safely to consumers is conveniently met.