How to minimize Retort Processing problems ?

To minimize these problems, it is recommended to use high accurate and reliable systems to do regular monitoring of the processing in conjunction with the validated data. Thermocouple probes with needle probes can be used to insert into the cold spot of the containers and it could be positioned at the cold spots of each baskets. One probe for each basket is recommended. Minimum three probes should be used in one retort.

While fixing the probes, make sure that the measuring needles are thin and it will not displace any material. Moreover the fittings should be air tight and water tight without any leakage to simulate actual processing conditions. Provision should be provided to position the measuring sensor exactly at the cold spot of the hardest piece of the products inside the containers.

Pressure probes also can be used for monitoring the pressure inside the retort.

So while doing the processing, the customer can always cross verify that the retort processing is done based on the pre-defined technology and any deviation in the pre-defined values could be detected immediately. If there is a deviation from the pre-defined value during the course of the processing, then the processor could control the retort manually to reach the required safe Fo values.

If the processor is planning to process different products in the same sterilizer, then it is recommended to use Semi – Automatic processing instead of pre-defined fully automatic processing based on time, so that any unforeseen situation during the processing could be taken care.

At least 3 probes should be used for the regular monitoring and always follow the lowest values shown by the probes. The processor should watch the monitoring data carefully to make sure that the probes are giving the correct values.

Usage of unreliable or low quality probes or machines will have negative effect on this method as a change of even 1 deg C can make a difference of 26% to the Fo values during the sterilization time ( at 121 deg C) . So make sure that you are using high quality, most reliable equipments for the regular monitoring applications.

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