Time-Temperature Indicators for Batch Retort Processing of Canned Food

Time-Temperature Indicators for Batch Retort Processing of Canned Food

Some of our customers might not be aware that we've been supplying highly specialised printed card indicators to the world's biggest canning and bottling facilities for 35 years.

The majority of these products are made by SteriTec Getinge in the US, for whom we have been global distributors serving the food industry since the company was founded. We're proud to be the world's only specialist provider of batch processing indicators for canneries, supplying them to 40+ countries and the world's biggest food and beverage manufacturers.

The indicators consist of a small rectangular piece of card with an "intelligent ink" stripe that changes colour from purple to green when specific combinations of time and temperature are met in a steam retort process. 

The canning process involves placing food in a sealed container, usually made of tin or aluminium, and heating it to high temperatures to kill bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. Canning companies use our temperature indicators to show evidence of thermal processing because it provides a quick and easy way to check whether the food has been adequately processed.

Here are some reasons why more and more canneries are relying on our time temperature indicators instead of the basic, disposable steam autoclave / retort tape:

  1. Verification of heat penetration: colour changing time temperature indicators provide visual evidence that heat has penetrated the can in accordance with predetermined time parameters, unlike autoclave tape, which can react fully in seconds.

  2. Quality control: temperature indicators are also used as a quality control measure to ensure that all cans have undergone a thermal process. Large volumes of food are processed round the clock and strict measures are in place to ensure that HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) measures are identified and accounted for in process procedures.

  3. Consumer safety: our time temperature indicators are one part in a complex system of hazard analysis and control that helps to ensure that the canned food is safe for consumption. If our colour indicators don't change fully from purple to green, it may indicate that the food has not been processed properly, and it may not be safe to eat. 

  4. Regulatory compliance: Canning companies are required by law to ensure that their products are safe for consumption. The use of our colour indicators is an excellent way to comply with specific regulations that stipulate the use of a colour changing indicator in the retort processing stage, and demonstrate that canned products have undergone a thermal process.

  5. Efficient and effective process monitoring in the production facility: our indicators are an extremely effective way to visually monitor the status of baskets of thermally processed canned food. They are easy to read and provide a quick way for plant operators to determine whether the food has been through the steam retort process. 

In conclusion, canneries use color indicators to show evidence of thermal processing because they provide a quick and easy way to check whether the food has been properly processed. This helps to ensure consumer safety, comply with regulations, and maintain quality control in commercial canning operations. 

We offer the most comprehensive range of time & temperature indicators for use in thermal processes anywhere in the world, and have 35 years experience in determining the best product for your specific application. 

Find out more by clicking here to see our full range of food processing indicators and contact us to discuss your temperature indicator requirements.

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  • Tim Arrowsmith