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Hydrogen peroxide is used to sterilize packaging material intended for aseptic packaging. After sterilization is achieved, the hydrogen peroxide must be removed to satisfy the maximum permissible residual of 0.1 ppm, based on the contained volume of the aseptic package. A pilot plant scale system for sterilization of flat stock packaging material was used to identify some of the critical variables affecting removal of hydrogen peroxide. Flat stock material was exposed to hydrogen peroxide at 27 and 85°C at concentrations of 30 and 40% weight/weight. The sterilant was applied by immersion and misting. Hot sterile air at 66, 149, and 204°C was used to heat and remove the hydrogen peroxide. Immersion in hydrogen peroxide at 27°C, with a concentration of 30% weight/weight, and air drying at 149°C for 35 s, reduced the average residual for eight containers to 3.5 ppm. The lowest average residual (0.2 ppm) was observed when hydrogen peroxide was used at 27°C, with a concentration of 40% weight/weight, and drying air at 204°C was applied for 7 s. The critical variables were the effective temperature of the drying air, the temperature of the sterilant, and the residence time in the drying zone.
air drying, aseptic packaging, flexible packaging, food, hydrogen peroxide, immersion, misting, packaging, residues, spraying, sterilization, temperature
Vice president for research and engineering, Ex-Cell-O Corp., Walled Lake, MI
Director, Cincinnati Research Laboratories, Food Engineering Branch, Division of Food Technology, Office of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Cincinnati, OH