All about Retorts

retort mainRetort is the main processing chamber where in the packed food is sterilized as well as cooked properly to achieve safety and quality. The thermal processing is done inside the retort chamber.

The purpose of the heat process inside the retort is to preserve the pack contents by destroying the microorganism and enzymes capable of activity in the food during subsequent normal storage. Additionally the retort is designed to cook the food, thus developing the required characteristics of flavour, texture and colour.

The retort is loaded with baskets filled with packed food containers. The retort is brought up to sterilising temperature mainly by the application of steam at high pressure. The temperature is normally increased upto 121 deg C for the sterilization. It could be higher or lower depending on the application.

The compressed air is used to maintain the overpressure required to protect the containers from deformation.

Cooling water is normally used as the cooling medium to cool down the products after it achieved the required sterilization.

Here we discuss about different types of Retorts and intended applications, Tips to select the retort suitable for your specific products and applications, database of important retort manufacturers and many more.

The Retort is the main processing chamber, where in the packed food are sterilized and cooked properly without affecting the quality of the foods and maintain the safety to the processed food and its containers.

The retorts are are normally used to do the processing including Sterilization, Pasteurization and Cooking of different types of products such as :-

Fruits and Vegetables, raw and processed
meat and meat based products
raw milk and milk products,
fish and seafood
ready meals
Baby food
Pet food etc.

The food can be packed in different types of containers including cans, tins, aluminium, glass jars, plastic bottles, pouches, carton boxes, plastic trays etc.

The Retort should be selected based on the following factors :-

Flexibility : – should be able to process products in different types of containers, cans, tins, aluminium, glass jars, plastic bottles, pouches, carton boxes, plastic trays etc.

Economy :- Lower energy consumption, Lower production cost , less expensive products

Performance and Accuracy :- Accurate heat treatment, reliability and integrity of the packaging, perfect reproduction of the process.

Security : maximize food quality, hygiene, sensory and repeatability .

Homogeneity: – It should have homogeneous treatment of all products whatever their location inside the retort and whatever the type of package

The Retort Operation includes the following steps :-

Come Up Time
Steam is automatically injected into the retort after removing the cold air

Holding Time
A mixture of steam / air is injected to maintain the required temperature and pressure

Cooling Time
The cold water is injected to cool down the products.

Different Types of Retort and Applications :

There are different types of retort available in the market.

Steam Retors
Steam Air Retorts
Rotary Retorts
Shaking Retorts
Water Spray Retort
Water Cascading Retort
Water Immersion Retorts etc.

The retort should be selected based on the type of products and packing containers. Normally products are packed in cans, pouches, plastic trays, cups, bottles, glass bottles etc.

How to select the product based on the products and packing containers ?