The hot fill process uses heat to sterilize both the product and its container during the food packaging process. The hot fill process starts by heating the food product up to a temperature between 194 and 203 degrees Fahrenheit and the injecting the hot liquid into the packing container. Both the container and the food product are kept at this temperature for 15-20 seconds to ensure there are no bacteria in the food or its packaging. After the heat cycle, the containers rest until the temperature has reached 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, it’s time to seal the packages and allow them to fully cool down.
Hot filling is used for packing food products that are acidic. Examples of food products work with the hot filling process include sodas, vinegar and vinegar based sauces, sports drinks and fruit and vegetable juices. There are several different types of containers that work well with the hot-fill process such as glass, cardboard and some (but not all) plastics.