Sterilization is the process of killing, disabling or removing microorganisms. In the food and beverage industries the objectives of sterilization are to anulate any pathogens and extend the shelf life of the products; making the distribution process easier.
Sterilization can be achieved through heat technologies, filtration technologies, chemicals and others. Sterilization through heat technologies are the most popular methods nowadays.
The equipment and process necessary for sterilization varies from product to product. MachinePoint Engineering objective when supplying these systems is to reach a level of sterilization that still keeps the majority of the products´ fresh and organoleptic qualities intact.
The sterilization process varies depending on the products´ PH:
- High acidity products with PH lower than 4.6, products such as juices, some vegetables, etc
- Low acidity products with PH higher that 4.6, products such as milk, vegetable creams, etc
Low PH products do not usually develop the pathogens which cause salmonella. It is usually enough to pasteurize them at temperatures between 80 and 100 ºC for 30 seconds (this is always relative as it depends on product and initial contamination). Please see pasteurizers for more information.
For high PH products that develop pathogens, a more aggressive sterilization with temperatures over 150 ºC is necessary. For more information please see UHT.
MachinePoint supplies various types of equipment to sterilize liquid and solid products.