If you pour apple juice from a Tetra Pak drink carton, eat your yogurt from a cup, or drink a smoothie from a PET bottle, you are betting that you can do so without any hesitation whatsoever. Yet the food’s tastiness is ensured by a product that, in all probability, would give many consumers pause: hydrogen peroxide. But what’s a chemical doing in one of these ever-so-natural drinks and foods?
There is none at all in the products themselves. Hydrogen peroxide is only used to disinfect the containers. Shortly before they are filled with perishable fruit juices or dairy products, hydrogen peroxide cleanses them of any microbes. This can extend the shelf life of beverages, entirely without the addition of preservatives, while satisfying the demand for foods that are as natural as possible. When drinks are bottled aseptically, keeping them chilled is not necessarily required, and they can be kept on the shelf for a longer period. Tetra Paks are also an attractive option for regions of the world where uninterrupted refrigeration cannot always be guaranteed.
Water and Oxygen Are Left
Hydrogen peroxide is also a chemical with an inestimable advantage. It breaks down easily into water and oxygen, its natural components. That means the consumer is left with no harmful substances in the container. Only stabilizers could conceivably remain inside after the disinfection process. Among other things, they ensure that the hydrogen peroxide can be stored for relatively long periods of time. But any residue is immediately vaporized with sterile hot air inside the equipment before the juice, yogurt or smoothies are poured into the containers.
The so-called aseptic process is used for PET bottles and beverage cartons. They are either guided through an immersion bath or disinfected with spray. Glass, on the other hand, is usually cleaned with lye. PET bottles and Tetra Paks are popular with consumers since they are robust, fairly light and easy to handle. They also lend themselves to a wide range of designs. Gable beverage cartons are currently in demand since they facilitate pouring. PET bottles also offer an advantage for dairy products: They block the sunlight that can alter a beverage’s taste. Despite all the advantages, one shortcoming remains: The containers add to the volume of waste. The PET bottles and beverage cartons in use around the world are not always properly discarded. Consider the PET bottle: It only decomposes over a period of about 450 years. This is a problem that has yet to be satisfactorily solved.
The Company’s Products for Food and Beverage Processing
The aseptic process has long been an established practice in the food industry, not least of all because the chemical had been specially adapted and approved for use in the food field. Incidentally, the same is true for seals. They have to be developed and authorized for the food and beverage industry. Freudenberg has developed considerable expertise in this field. Many of its seals are used in the restaurant business and in bottling facilities.