New research at CCFRA has explored how clean filling of products can help reduce microbiological spoilage and so maximise shelf-life. The microbiological quality of a clean fill product is determined by its level of pasteurisation, re-contamination during filling prior to closure, and microbial growth during subsequent storage. Whilst the first and last of these are well understood, factors affecting clean filling are less well characterised.
The new report discusses how factors such as hygienic design of the filler, lubricants, disinfection, product splashing and sloshing, packaging and air quality can influence microbial contamination of a product during filling - and how these factors can be mitigated during commissioning. It uses schematics to illustrate the potential impact of the filling operation on product shelf-life.
Through a factory-based case study for an egg based product with a low microbial count post-pasteurisation, it demonstrates how maximisation of shelf-life could be accomplished only by reduced cross-contamination during filling. It concludes that understanding the degree of microbial contamination and relative risks of cross-contamination can lead to a more informed choice of clean filling control options. The systems developed and described can facilitate this.
Contact: John Holah