Unlike pasteurization, the sterilization process seeks the elimination of all microorganisms, pathogenic or not, that reside in fresh foods and cause their decomposition, by treatment at temperatures above 100ºC.
In this case, the food is heated from 120ºC to ultra high temperatures (UHT) of 140º, to cause the death of the microorganisms and their spores. Because microorganisms do not survive, sterilized products have a longer shelf life than pasteurized products, although its disadvantage is that it can affect the quality of some products. With high temperatures the nutritional value of the food is lower, some vitamins and aromas can be destroyed along with all microorganisms, pathogens or not.
Microorganisms are sensitive to a combination of temperature and time. Lower temperature during long periods of time will kill the same amount of microorganisms as high temperatures during short periods of time. This combination of time with temperature is called the “sterilization value” and is represented by “Fo” when using a temperature above 100ºC and is called “Po” when the temperature is below 100ºC.
Each product has different characteristics that will determine the type of sterilization technique to be used and the combinations of temperature and time to try to preserve the maximum properties and minimize the nutritional changes of the packaged food.
At TERRA Food-Tech ® by RAYPA we produce compact autoclaves for packaged foods designed for cooking, sterilizing and pasteurizing canned foods using a temperature probe placed on a product sample. This allows a perfect control of the process preserving the organoleptic properties, minimizing the possible changes in the nutritional characteristics of the packaged product and complying with all the requirements and standards of the food industry. For more information, contact our sales team.