Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilisation - promises to provide fresh like meals which retain sensitive nutritional components, along with great flavour, texture & appearance while the shelf life equivalent to the traditional heating methods.

This is a patent technology of “915 Labs” for additive free packaged food.It's a post Packaging sterilisation process.

Microwave Assisted Thermal Sterilization improves on retorting by minimizing time-temperature requirements to produce healthier foods.

Microwave assisted thermal sterilisation uses a 915M Hz microwave signal to induce dielectric heating within the packaged food, resulting in a much shorter heating step and less damage to sensitive nutritional components.

RETORT V/S MATS

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How it works
MATS heat the packaged food externally in a pressurised water bath & internally using the patented microwave energy delivery system at the frequency of 915MHz.

Systems easily configure for pasteurization or sterilization in four optimized process stages.

Benefits
> Significant reduction in thermal processing time (1/4 to 1/10 of conventional processing time) 
> Greatly improved product visual and sensory appeal - particularly prepared meals containing delicate ingredients
> Improved nutrient retention

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> Inherently capable of adaptation to continuous-type sequential processing system design
> Shelf-stable end-products eliminate refrigeration requirements for processing, warehousing, transportation, retail sales storage/presentation
 
What kind of foods can be preserved with MATS and MAPS:
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Drawbacks

Processing energy cost/production unit increase due to electrical vs. thermal energy utilization (particularly for natural gas)

Mats systems
> The MATS-B is a pilot-scale system designed for product development labs. MATS-B systems allow food companies to develop recipes, produce samples for internal and market trials, validate food safety and test packaging materials and designs.
> The MATS-150 is a full-scale production system capable of processing 150 food packages per minute. This system is designed to integrate into modern food production facilities, making use of existing cook, fill, and packaging lines. Recipes and processes developed on the MATS-B will translate directly to the MATS-150.
> The first Full scale commercial system MATS150 is been delivered in two (AmeriQual of Evansville, Indiana & The Wornick Company Cincinnati, Ohio) food processing companies in North American in 2016.
Packaging material for mats

Packaging, including rigid trays and flexible pouches in a variety of sizes, are made of high performance, polymer-based materials compatible with the MATS process. They are similar to retort but because the MATS/MAPS process is gentler (subjected to less pressure and heat) they are thinner. These materials provide the protection necessary for products to maintain a minimum of one-year shelf life at room at ambient conditions and to deliver necessary consumer functionality, such as easy opening. Our materials meet all US FDA standards for food contact and for use in thermal processing.

915 Labs has partnered with some of the leading packaging suppliers in the world to create a Packaging Solutions Program, which integrates the best available technology, materials, expertise and resources. The program is delivered in partnership with multiple certified MATS packaging suppliers, each of which meets a rigorous set of requirements and certification criteria & offer a range of stock and customized options.

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About the author

Mrs. Pratiksha Kalgutkar

Senior Manager,

Acumen Packaging Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai

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