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Is anyone here a food scientist or technologist?

(17 Posts)
MrsMuddle Wed 21-Jan-09 22:31:28

If so, I'd like to pick your brains. I'm about to lose battery power on this laptop but will check in tomorrow night.


PuzzleRocks Thu 22-Jan-09 08:27:01

Bumping for you.

MrsMuddle Thu 22-Jan-09 15:43:50

Thanks PuzzleRocks. Anyone?

PlumBumMum Thu 22-Jan-09 15:51:15

Microbiologist but 3 dc later brains cells abit dead try me?

MrsMuddle Thu 22-Jan-09 18:39:10

Thank you. If I was making fresh sauces to sell (thai green curry etc), how would I extend the shelf life? Do these sauces - eg, Lloyd Grossman - that are in pouches contain preservatives?

I'm just at the initial stages, so would welcome any advice. smile

ditzzy Thu 22-Jan-09 18:47:34

If you can find a way to exclude excess air it will help!

I believe sauce pouches are usually vacuum packed, with your own jars if you screw the lid on while the sauce is still hot it should suck the 'tamper proof spot' down on the lid - hence creating a small vacuum.

Covering the contents with a layer of oil, having a high vinegar/sugar content, all helps.

I make my own pickles/pesto/jams (without 'preservatives') and store them for up to a year with no problems, but obviously I only make them for my own consumption! (and I'm not an expert, although I am a scientist by training) smile

PlumBumMum Thu 22-Jan-09 18:52:44

Well I just tested the food in the labs to let them know shelf life

But you will find sauces on shelves, not in fridges, will have been pasturised/heat treated in some way or have preservatives

this is me blowing off cobwebs, if I remember anymore or find out anymore I will get back to you

PlumBumMum Thu 22-Jan-09 18:54:22

oils, vinegar and sugar are all natural peserv's

MrsMuddle Thu 22-Jan-09 19:01:38

Thank you both. Is it possible to get vacuum pack equipment for use at home, or is all industrial size / strength?

How would I arrange for something to be heat treated or pasteurised, and then vacuum packed?

I'm about to go out, so if you're kind enough to ansewer, I'm not ignoring you!

PlumBumMum Thu 22-Jan-09 19:15:49

You can get vacuum pack equipment for use at home

heat treat could be part of your cooking process and then vacumm pack

I know where I used to work you could send things in for independent testing it didn't cost much

ditzzy Thu 22-Jan-09 19:18:26

Check out:

Does it on a domestic scale! smile

The key is to make sure bugs can't get in the container once its sealed and that any that are already in there can't breed. Bugs need air (and not too strong sugar or acid) to live and breed, so you just need to make sure they can't get what they need.

PlumBum is right, oils, vinegar and sugar act as perservatives - the other good one is ascorbic acid, otherwise known as Vitamin C (always looks good on labels to say 'added vitamin C' when really its in as a perservative).

ditzzy Thu 22-Jan-09 19:20:24

cross-posts (I took ages doing the link blush )

Independant testing sounds as though it would answer all the questions! I guess that would help if she needed to prove the shelf-life too?

PlumBumMum Thu 22-Jan-09 19:22:20

My goodness ditzzy your on the ballwink

MrsMuddle Fri 23-Jan-09 23:00:09

Thanks. I'm amazed that two people knew the answers! This has been very useful.

whooosh Fri 23-Jan-09 23:04:34

As an aside,many "branded" manufacturers would produce your product on your behalf (for a fee)amd some will even sell and market it.
Depending on your product,I may have some contacts to help you if you CAT me.
Depends if you intend to sell the product and where really.....

MrsMuddle Mon 26-Jan-09 21:39:39

Thank you, whoooosh. I'll CAT you next week, unless you're nearby - in which case I'll take you out for lunch or for a drink and you can tell me everything you know!

Are you anywhere near Glasgow?

Greatsweetkittyothepuddingrace Mon 26-Jan-09 21:49:06

MrsMuddle I was a food microbiologist with a well known supermarket and as such responsible for assessing and assigning shelf lives.

dizzty has about covered it, for something like a Thai Green Curry in a jar I presume, the main worry would be Clostridium botulinum as any enteric bugs would be killed off by the heat process and hot filling above 70 degrees would prevent post cook contamination by Listeria.

Vacuum packing could be a factor or you could use a combination of heat processing and pH, for example, if you heat processed to 90 degreesC and the product was at a pH of 4 or below this would give you a longer shelf life.

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