ASEPTIC PACKAGING SYSTEM
Aseptic packaging can be defined as the filling of a commercially sterile product into a
sterile container under aseptic conditions and hermetically sealing the containers so that
reinfection is prevented. This results in a product, which is shelf-stable at ambient conditions.
The term “aseptic” is derived from the Greek word “septicos” which means the absence of
In practice, generally there are two
specific fields of application of
aseptic packaging technology:
• Packaging of pre-sterilised
Examples are milk and dairy
desserts, fruit and vegetable
juices, soups, sauces, and
products with particulates.
• Packaging of non-sterile
product to avoid infection by
micro-organisms. Examples of this application include fermented dairy products like
Aseptic packaging technology is fundamentally different from that of conventional food
processing by canning. In canning, the process begins with treating the food prior to filling.
Initial operations inactivate enzymes so that these will not degrade the product during
processing. The package is cleaned, and the product is introduced into the package, usually hot.
Generally, air that can cause oxidative damage is removed from the interior. The package is
hermetically sealed and then subjected to heating. The package must be able to withstand heat
up to about 100°C for high acid products and up to 127°C for low acid products, which must
receive added heat to destroy heat-resistant microbial spores. Packages containing low-acid
(above pH 4.5) food must withstand pressure as well.
Although 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.
Figure 1 is a simple illustration comparing the basic difference between conventional canning
and aseptic packaging processes