The term thermal processing is used to embrace the operations involved in sterilising or pasteurising cans, bottles, plastic pouches and other containers of food. In the conventional form of the process the food, after harvesting, is prepared by washing, peeling, cutting, slicing and blanching and then the containers are filled and seamed or sealed. This is followed by heating the containers in a retort or continuous steriliser, cooling and packaging prior to despatch to the retail outlet. The process is illustrated in Figure 4.1.
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