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Opening systems of aseptically filled boxes


Key words Opening systems, aseptically filled boxes
Latest version 2012/03/23
Completed by FRIP

How does it work?

Primary objective Opening systems mainly valves that can be opened several times and keep filled product not microbiologically contaminated.
Working principle Aseptic filling technology is the special filling procedure that fills decontaminated bags via aseptic methodology. This methodology saves the microbial quality of the filled food products by the aseptic filling machine that assures no microbial contamination of the food products. This method prolongs the shelf life of the filled products from several weeks to several months.

Aseptic bags are equipped with special opening systems that enable sterile release of the packed fluid food at aseptic conditions: no microbial contamination is allowed into the filled food. The simplest opening system can be open one time only and all content of the bag should be consumed at once. More complicated opening systems enable opening at aseptic conditions several times and assure no microbial contamination of the bag content. There are several conditions that the multi time openings systems have to fulfill [1]. Manual dispensing equipment for aseptically packaged beverages or foods requires refrigeration of the product after the package is opened. The food service industry benefits greatly by implementing dispensing equipment that maintains the sterility of products after continued use without the need for refrigeration. A dispensing valve can maintain the sterility of aseptically filled products following initial dispensation and continued use under unrefrigerated conditions. Another important parameter for extended shelf life of the aseptically filled bags content is the quality of the head space [2] in opening valve and its’ oxygen content. The cashew and passion fruit juice drinks were aseptically filled in cartons and in three types of plastic packages with nitrogen gas flushing. No adverse effect on product sterility was found; neither were any significant changes in pH and acidity detected during storage at 25 ± 2°C.
A decrease of the oxygen concentration in the headspace of the cashew juice drink plastic packs was observed, which appears to be caused by consumption of that gas in oxidation reactions. Another method that can be used to open aseptic packages easily is based on the use of laser [3].

Additional effects Special openings can assure the repeated consumption of the bag content that saves necessity to deliver more bags during shelf life. This effect saves the transport energy.
Important process parameters no microbial contamination of packed foods after closing the opening
Important product parameters Opening systems can save the closing efficiency

What can it be used for?

Products Low or highly viscous food products.
Operations Packaging and partial food consumption without microbial spoilage.
Solutions for short comings Special opening saves the aseptically packed product during several consumptions. After closing the asepticity and microbial quality is saved by special closing system design.

What can it NOT be used for?

Products solid foods
Operations manual packaging
Other limitations Special design of the opening systems applied on aseptic bags. It should be sterile before use and very stable against oxygen and microbial cells penetration during shelf life.
Risks or hazards Real closing of the opening valve, no microbial contamination through the sealing in valve. Closing valve should enable repeatable opening and closing during the filled bag shelf life.


Maturity Opening systems on aseptical bags is currently used system in practice.
Modularity /Implementation It can be placed without problem on any aseptic bag, only of the size volume vs. price of the opening system price should be considered and keep at reasonable relation. Small bags do not need very expensive openings.
Consumer aspects Consumers like the opening systems on aseptic bags, see e.g. fruit juices in bags, wine in bags equipped with openings etc. Opening enables them to consume step by step the big aseptic bags.
Legal aspects Regulation for food production is valid for this technology.
Environmental aspects Product temperature during aseptic filling and storage temperature around room temperature saves energy consumption compared to other technologies. Special openings can assure the repeated consumption of the bag content that saves necessity to deliver more bags during shelf life. This effect saves the transport energy.

Further Information

Institutes Institute for Environmental Health, Food Technology Institute
Companies SIG Combibloc, Tetra Pak
References [1] Stopforth, J.D., Kottapalli, B., Samadpour, M., Sterility testing of a dispensing valve for aseptic function in food service applications, (2008) Journal of Food Protection, 71 (3), pp. 652-656.

[2] Vercelino Alves, R.M., Sarantópoulos, C.I.G.L., Saron, E.S., Bordin, M.R., Stability of fruit juice drinks in aseptic packages, (2001) Packaging Technology and Science, 14 (2), pp. 79-86.

[3] Fruscione, Ela, Lasers assure the flow and flexibility of aseptic carton production, (1999) Converting Magazine, 17 (8), pp. 44-45.

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Created by Milan123 on 5 April 2012, at 14:37