Aseptic technology is widely acknowledged as being the twentieth century’s most significant innovation in the area of Food Science. More than two decades ago, in 1989, the renowned Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) ranked Aseptic Processing & Packaging Technology at the No. 1 spot, ahead of other landmark developments like food fortification, juice concentration and safe canning technology.
The concept of aseptic packaging originated with Dr. Ruben Rausing who foresaw the relevance of such packaging while studying in the US when he witnessed the growing popularity of ‘self-service’ stores. Dr. Rausing went on to co-found Akerlund & Rausing, a specialised factory for packaging that would later become one of the largest packaging manufacturers in Europe, paving the way for the advent of aseptic packaging.
Aseptically packed products like milk, juice, nectars, etc. are heat processed in a sterile environment using different time-temperature combinations (ranging from 90 to 140º C) to destroy all harmful micro-organisms including bacterial spores. The next step of the process involves aseptic packed of the products under extremely stringent QA standards in line with global, EU and Indian laws.
Aseptic technology ensures the retention of nutritional value and freshness, longer shelf life (4-6 months), the convenience of transportation without cold chain and above all, a tamper evident package. Aseptically packaged products are free of preservatives and safe for direct consumption from the package.
Some of the other benefits in using and promoting aseptic technology that are relevant to Indian conditions in particular include:
- Profitable disposal of surplus milk by dairies.
- Better quality of produce and hence better remuneration for farmers
- A cost effective consumption option for consumers offering hygiene, longer shelf life and the convenience and safety of direct consumption without boiling, especially in the case of milk
- Lowest carbon footprint, since aseptic packaging is primarily made from renewable resources (wood)
- Aseptic packaging is 100% recyclable and is increasingly being recycled into various useful products like stationery, roofing, surfacing, etc.