Difference amongst aseptic, ultra-clean, and clean in food packaging?
February 4, 2013 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Quality & Food Science Experts: What's the difference amongst "aseptic", "ultra-clean", and "clean" in food packaging technology? I've always thought it was the same darn thing, but apparently not. I've googled like crazy, but I'm just pulling up sites selling me 500 ton hunks of stainless steel rather than explaining what the differences are.
posted by peachtree to Food & Drink (3 answers total)
I work in the QA/R&D wing of a large-ish food manufacturer, and I've never heard "clean" or ultra-clean" used in this fashion. The only usage of clean that comes up pretty frequently is clean-labeling, which is industry jargon for making ingredient statements appear more-natural/less-spooky.

The wikipedia page on aseptic processing gives you a pretty good overview of it.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:42 PM on February 4, 2013

Ok, just chatted with some folks on the production floor and our packaging manager, and it seems that ultra-clean is definitely a thing, but not a terribly well defined thing. Basically, aseptic involves all components in the filling process being sterilized, while clean/ultra-clean covers filling processes that aren't completely aseptic, but have have various steps/features that help improve the micro safety of the packaged item. It doesn't seem to be a standardized term, so the filler manufacturers are pretty much applying it to their processes however they see fit.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 1:00 PM on February 4, 2013

Most places will not use those (probably local) terms. Most places will go by ISO classifications.
posted by kamikazegopher at 4:37 PM on February 4, 2013

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