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Validation and optimisation of thermal processing systems: cookers, pasteurisers and sous vide systems 2015

Thermal processing is at the centre of food preservation, ensuring that foods are safe from microbiological contamination and remain high in nutritional and sensory attributes. There is an ever growing range of food products preserved by thermal technologies ranging from sterilisation (such as canning) to milder pasteurisation heat treatments (such as cook-chill and cook-freeze). There are also rapid advances being made in process technologies and equipment used for thermal processing, with processes such as continuous flow heating and cooling systems, hot-fill processes and novel thermal technologies (eg micro-wave, radio frequency and ohmic heating) becoming common in food manufacturing.

Whatever the thermal process, the need for food manufacturers to prove the safety of their food product through a programme of thermal process validation is a common requirement. This guideline explains the principles of cooking and pasteurisation (including sous vide) and outlines appropriate procedures and methods for the validation of the heat treatment.