At Last: Your Product.
By now you probably have a small scale version of your product. Did you check the Code of Massachusetts Regulations to learn about any standards for your product?
Before production, standardize your formula:
- Convert all recipes into a weighted average percentage. This can be done by weighing your ingredients on a precise scale. When measured by weight, quantities are much more accurate, making for a consistent product batch to batch.
- Record ingredient source and cost of all materials
- Test your formula to match your specifications- flavor, texture, dimensions, microbial limits, etc.
- For canned goods intended to be shelf stable, the appropriate process conditions will need to be reviewed and approved by a process authority. In order for a process authority to best support you, they will want to know what the pH and water activity is of your finished product. To learn more about how pH is measure and how it helps with food safety visit (UW Madison Directions). For food safety reasons, shelf stable canned foods with a pH above 4.6 will need to be processed aseptically or with retort (commercial scaled processing with high heat and pressure).
Conduct a Laboratory Review of the product to
- Verify final product is free from harmful biological organisms and safe for consumers; that the set controls and processes work as expected
- Establish expected Shelf-Life – the length of time and shelf conditions the product can withstand while still maintaining desired quality and functionality
For Canned, Low Acid, and acidified foods the development of a product extends beyond the product in the jar or can; an entire procedure must be tailored specifically to the formula and size of product. The extended shelf life from canning means that bacteria that survive the high heat of the process have ample time to turn your hard work into something inedible or potentially poisonous. Additionally, some nasty bacteria like C. Botulinum like the unique vacuum environment in a canned good- extra care and caution must be taken to make sure they are not feasting or living in your product:
- Consult 21 CFR 114.000 about the following regulations specific to Canned Goods:
- Process authority approval
- pH Limits
- Method limitations
- Re-certification of process with each formula or process change
- Attend a Better Process Control School
- In Compliance with CMR 500.006 and 21 CFR 108.113 and 108.114.
- Learn the intricacies of the regulation and how to adapt you product, process and procedures to yield a safe product.
- Upcoming UMASS BPCS
- Consult a Process Authority, a canned Food Safety Specialist, to confirm your formula and process are safe
- Listing Here