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Furthermore, unlike the metallic cans, the boil-in-bag facility offers the potential of warming the food in the pouch immediately before consumption. The required qualities of a retortable pouch are its ability to withstand a temperature as high as 133 °C, good seal integrity with a seal strength of 2 to 3. The pouch is a laminate of three materials, an outer layer (normally 12 µm thick) of polyester, a middle layer of aluminium foil and an inner layer of polypropylene. The outer layer protects the foil, provides strength and also a surface for printing details of the contents. The aluminium layer functions as a barrier for moisture, odour, light and gas, while, the inner layer is the heat seal and food contact material. Physical strength to resist any handling during manufacturing and distribution; 7. The critical factors involved in the development of retort=pouched products include product consistency, filling capacity/drained weight, perfection in sealing, temperature distribution and control, container orientation, residual headspace gas, processing and racking systems, processing medium, pouch thickness and the pressure applied (Beverly et al. Because of their limited seal strength, pouches are unable to support internal pressure developed by heat induced expansion of gases, therefore during processing the retort pressure is carefully controlled by steam/air mixtures. After the sterilization process, the pouch is rapidly cooled to avoid overcooking (Silva et al. During treatment, monitoring of surface thermal conductance of pouches allows determination of process time, mass average sterilizing value and nutrient retention (Bhowmik and Tandon, 1987; Simpson et al. There are three essential rules for the safety of retort pouch processed products, namely, pouch seal integrity, adequate thermal processes to eliminate the most dangerous and heat resistant Heat treated fishery products 71 microorganisms including Clostridium botulinum spores, and post-process hygiene. Retort pouch packaged products generally require reheating before consumption of the packaged food items (Rangarao, 2004). Convenient production line including filling and thermal processing More Intense cooking results in loss of natural sensory attributes. Comparable with retort pouch products More weight, requires more space for storage May require a can opener Sterilization time Product quality Shelf-life Convenience in handling Convenience in consumption Capital investment Marketing Medium level of capital investment Established technology and hence, minimum consumer education needed An optimization technique has been developed for thermal processing of jack mackerel in cone frustum shaped pouches demonstrating the comparatively low cost of the pouch compared with aluminium cans (Simpson et al. Seafood including salmon, tuna, crab, clams, shrimp, mussel and oyster, and products such as fish sausage, smoked fish, fish paste and other items have been successfully subjected to retort packaging (Srinivas Gopal, 2003). Curried seer fish (Scomberomorus guttatus) packaged in a retort pouch of polyester/aluminium foil/cast polypropylene, had acceptable sensory characteristics for more than a year in storage (Vijayan et al. Thermal processing required significantly less time compared with that of conventional aluminium cans and the resulting pouch products were superior to canned products in terms of quality attributes (Mohan et al. An increase in thermal treatment times resulted in loss of textural properties of both canned and pouch packaged fish (Ali et al, 2005). Salmon in various forms, such as flavoured roasted fillets, smoked chowder as well as spread, pickled products, patй, croquettes, lunch meat, pasties, low fat burgers, sausages and smoked and marinated tenderloins, have been retort packaged in stand-up flexible pouches (Venugopal, 2006). Smoked yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) steaks were packed in retort pouches with refined sunflower oil or 2 percent brine as the filling medium. Processing was done at a Fo value of 10 in an overpressure autoclave with a facility for rotation. A slow rotation of the product up to 8 rpm during thermal treatment significantly enhanced heat penetration in the product requiring lower process time. Retort pouch packaged mussel meat was acceptable up to one year of storage at ambient temperature (Bindu et al. Therefore, the global consumption of retort pouches has increased from 7 billion in 2002 to 10. Retort pouch packed fishery products have become a recent addition to seafood trade. The process involves forcing a mixture of starch and other ingredients, at low moisture content (15 to 45 percent), through a barrel under variable conditions of temperature and pressure. This results in the melting and gelation of starch, facilitating its binding with other ingredients. The movement of the material through the barrel can be through single, twin, or multiple screw conveyors that provide high or low shear on the product.

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