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Today’s marketplace for shelf stable foods offers consumers a variety of packaging
options. The presence of traditional metal cans and glass containers has been augmented
by the introduction of shelf stable commodities available in semi-rigid containers,
flexible packages, and paperboard containers. Regardless of the container, the safety and
quality of the contents need to be protected throughout the manufacturing process and the
distribution chain, all the way to the customer’s cupboard. Security of the container
contents does not occur by chance. It is an active management process encompassing the
establishment and implementation of a series of practices appropriate to specific
processing systems and container designs. Product protection includes two strong
elements: container integrity and process reliability.
GMA’s “Minimizing the Presence of and Handling Abnormal Containers of Commercially Sterile Foods” was developed for processors, transporters and warehouse operators in the commercially sterile food industry. These practices can be applied universally, but the regulations cited herein are those that apply in the United States. Processors, transporters and warehouse operators may want to consider the food safety programs referenced in this document as the foundation for a successful system designed to minimize the potential for product spoilage from both underprocessing and container abuse.
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