Why temperature calibration is so important in retorts?


The Temperature Indicating Device (TID), as designated by the US FDA in its Code of Federal Regulations CFR Title 21 Part 113 “Thermally Processed Low-Acid Foods Packaged in Hermetically Sealed Containers”, is a key element of the sterilization retorts and hence a key element at any canning plant. It is a master device which must ensure thermal process treatment temperature accuracy in the sterilization retort so as to ensure all produced food product is safe for consumption. How about that?.


Up till not so long ago, CFR 21 Part 113 had determined the Mercury-In-Glass (MIG) was the only instrument to be trusted as the master retort temperature indicating device. The food industry had disputed the use of mercury in food plants for obvious poisoning risk. For some years now, electronic devices are accepted, as long as they meet all accuracy, reliability and independency requirements.


The text reads as follows now:

“Each temperature-indicating device and each reference device that is maintained by the processor shall be tested for accuracy against a reference device for which the accuracy is traceable to a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), or other national metrology institute, standard reference device by appropriate standard procedures, upon installation and at least once a year thereafter, or more frequently if necessary, to ensure accuracy during processing. Each temperature-indicating device and each reference device that is maintained by the processor shall have a tag, seal, or other means of identity.” Not a subject to be taken lightly…


All Surdry retorts are factory fitted with battery operated digital thermometers, specifically qualified to meet the CFR 21 Part 113. Manufacturer’s qualification and accuracy certificates are supplied as part of the documentation delivered with each Surdry unit.


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