Packaging plays a very important role when it comes to the shipping and delivery of coconut liquid products. Before the actual products are delivered to the commercial retailers, however, it needs to undergo a strict sterilization process to ensure that they are safe for consumption.
When using packaging, various risks, such as leakage or chemical and biological contamination, are present throughout a product’s shelf life and need to be eliminated before it can be shipped. In retrospect, the two basic objectives of packaging are the containment of the beverage and the prevention of any leaks. This is why sterilization is an important part of the production process since it aids in fulfilling these requirements.
Here are four of the most common sterilization methods for packaging materials:
This type of sterilization comes in two basic forms – dry and moist. The former makes use of hot air while the latter uses steam or pure gaseous water to sterilize the liquid. Steam from the moist heat treatment comes from a pressure chamber to produce it. Any air that enters with the packaging material is removed to make sure that there can be no interference with heat transfer between the steam and the packaging surface. In general, moist heat treatment is considered the more effective than dry heat treatment.
The most common type of packaging sterilization, chemical treatment mainly utilizes hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and peracetic acid (PAA). When used in combination with heat, H2O2 eliminates microorganisms and any resistant spores. PAA is used as a liquid sterilant that is commonly used on filling machine and plastic packaging material surfaces.
Irradiation usually employs either pulsed light or ionizing radiation to sterilize packaging material. Pulsed light uses high powered white light in short bursts that sterilizes aseptic packaging. These flashes of light, running between a fraction of a second from one another, provides high level microbial inactivation. Ionizing radiation, on the other hand, uses gamma radiation that is suitable for packaging materials that is restricted by its shape or cannot tolerate thermal treatment.
Electron Beam Technology
Most commonly used to sterilize food packaging, this type of sterilization works by using a focused beam of electrons and runs it through the surface of the packaging material. This effectively kills any bacteria or microorganism present and safely sterilizes the packaging. What’s interesting to note is that the electron only sterilizes the packaging and not the product itself. This allows for easier water recycling since no addition H2O2 is added during this process.
Manufacturers and coconut product producers take careful steps to ensure that their product and its subsequent packaging are kept as clean and as sterile as possible. It is through these processes that ensure that we receive our coconut liquid products in a form that can be consumed safely and without any worries.