Aseptic means sterile or free of bacterial contamination. Aseptic is commonly used to describe food processing and packaging techniques for non-refrigerated storage or long-life products.
In practice, generally there are two specific fields of application of aseptic packaging technology:
1. Packaging of pre-sterilized and sterile products. Examples are milk and dairy products, puddings, desserts, fruit and vegetable juices, soups, sauces, and products with particulates.
2. Packaging of non-sterile product to avoid infection by micro-organisms. Examples of this application include fermented dairy products like yoghurt.
Aseptic packaging technology is fundamentally different from that of conventional food processing by canning. Conventional canning renders food products commercially sterile, the nutritional contents and the organoleptic properties of the food generally suffer in the processing. Moreover, tinplate containers are heavy in weight, prone to rusting and are of high cost.
Advantages of Aseptic Packaging Technology
The three main advantages of using aseptic packaging technology are:
• Packaging materials, which are unsuitable for in-package sterilization, can be used. Therefore, light weight materials consuming less space offering convenient features and with low cost such as paper and flexible and
Semi-rigid plastic materials can be used gainfully.
• Sterilization process of high-temperature-short time (HTST) for aseptic packaging is thermally efficient and generally gives rise to products of high quality and nutritive value compared to those processed at lower temperatures for longer time.
• Extension of shelf-life of products at normal temperatures by packing them aseptically.
Besides the features mentioned above, additional advantages are that the HTST process utilizes less energy, as part of the process-heat is recovered through the heat exchangers and the aseptic process is a modern continuous flow process needing fewer operators.