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Shelf Stability of Apple Juices and Ciders

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What is required by law to produce shelf stable juice or cider products? These markets are unique in the opportunity for small businesses to enter the market. Consideration must be taken to the microbial risks associated (i.e. E.Coli, etc.). Each producer needs to take into account the required mandates for production. These are covered in the FDA document: Guidance for Industry Juice HACCP Hazards and Controls Guidance First Edition.

A summary is that for each product and production facility there must be the microbe you identify as the "pertinent microorganism," which is the most resistant microorganism of public health significance that is likely to occur in the juice, e.g., E. coli O157:H7. The process used for production must consistently generate a minumum 5-log reduction of the "pertinent micro-organism."

One excerpt from the document:

4.2 Example of a Process for a Shelf Stable Juice
The National Food Processors Association states that a typical hot fill/hold process used for shelf stable juices might be to treat the juice at 90 degrees C (194 degrees F) for 2 seconds, followed by filling at 85 degrees C (185 degrees F) and holding for 1 minute at that temperature. Based upon research it conducted for E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella species (spp.) and Listeria monocytogenes in fruit juices, NFPA calculated that this typical process used for shelf stable juices would achieve a 50,000 log reduction for these pathogens without taking into account the cumulative lethality during the cool down period. (See reference to publication by Mazzotta in section V. C. 5.0).

A Second Example of a Process for a Shelf Stable Juice
If for reasons of carbonation or other considerations, the product were to be cold filled, juice or cider in glass jars could be treated with a fully regenerative tunnel pasteurizer. Temperatures of 162 degrees F for 30 minutes would be the recommended start point to be confirmed with laboratory tests focused on the "pertinent microorganism".

When deciding between tunnel and flash pasteurization, reference the other pertinent articles on this blog. As juice is a product with a large "kids" market, the ability to put "pasteurized" on the package, and state that the product was pasteurized "in the package" has been known to add commercial value.


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