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How to properly sterilize, sanitize and fill 4oz PET plastic squeeze bottles?

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#1 ExitPlan

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Posted 20 January 2019 - 04:43 PM

Hi there! I am currently in the process of turning my at-home fermented hot sauce business into a legitimate operation, and as with many of us here, have run into a TON of questions as to how to do certain things the proper, legal and safe way.

 

My question today is: How do I properly sterilize, sanitize and fill 4oz plastic squeeze bottles with fermented hot sauce?

 

These are the bottles I am currently using at home and share with friends and family as gifts:

https://www.premiumv...dispensing-cap/

 

I know 5oz glass woozy is sort of like the industry standard, but I would really love to make the bottles I have chosen work for me in the long run as I grow and scale the business. I can do 5oz glass bottles, but I really enjoy the light weight of these 4oz plastic bottles as well as the ergonomics and user experience of squeezing exact amounts of sauce on your food (I am a UX designer by trade, so I just naturally think about user experience with products lol)

 

My hot sauce is fermented and then cooked down. Exact temps for this are not defined just yet, but I will be finding that out soon. pH is around 3.3 to 3.4 when all is said and done. I want to make sure I figure all of this out while I am still fine-tuning the process at home before I pull the trigger and rent out a commercial kitchen and get the CDPH involved.

 

Thanks!

 

 


Edited by ExitPlan, 20 January 2019 - 04:46 PM.


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#2 salsalady

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Posted 22 January 2019 - 07:40 PM

It's kind of a chicken-v-egg question. I say that because if you get your recipe and bottle sanitation all sorted out, your inspector may require the sauce to be heated to 180f minimum, which will probably make the plastic bottles unusable. All the plastic bottles I know of cannot take the heat. They melt when filled or deform as they cool. Most small time sauce makers who have tried plastic bottles end up going back to glass.

I would suggest working with your licensing people first to determine if the sauce has to be hot packed. If they give the ok to cook the sauce, then let it cool before filling, that would be great for you!

Back to the original question, look at some no rinse sanitizers that beer and winemakers use. Check them out to make sure it is ok for plastic. Maybe try to contact the bottle mfg and ask them what they recommend.

Worst comes around and it has to be hot packed, there are lots of other bottle shapes that people use other than the woozy.

Good luck and have fun! Keep us posted.

Salsalady

Edited by salsalady, 23 January 2019 - 05:02 PM.

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#3 BadWolf

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 10:25 AM

I was wondering about something very similar, I had found some small 10 mL plastic bottles (like for saline solution) and used them to distribute small samples to friends and coworkers. I bottled in standard woozy bottles first with HFH method, then filled these after cooling. After passing a few out I started thinking about the safety aspect of it... kicking myself in retrospect. Any idea if this process would be safe enough due to small volume and samples being used quickly? For example Id fill a few bottles then pass out at work the next day, and the sample would be used same day. A small bottle like this would be easier for soliciting feedback, plus some of my coworkers think Im giving them the whole woozy bottle when Im trying to have them taste a drop lol! I figured if i continue doing this Id look into the no rinse sanitizer, but if its unsafe I dont want to continue doing it..

#4 BadWolf

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 10:32 AM

To clarify further, this is not a process for selling, just transporting for friends and coworkers, Im not looking to use this when/if Im able to go pro

#5 salsalady

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 05:39 PM

When Giving out samples in plastic bottles, the recipients might think they are shelf stable.

How about using 2 oz or 4 oz condiment cups, the ones you get salsa and hot sauce in with a ToGo order from a Mexican restaurant? Probably cheaper. And people would know it's not shelf stable.

Or pony up for glass jars/ bottles. There are 2 oz bottles that can HFH.


There's a couple posts around about how much weight to give input from friends and coworkers. It's better to take a bottle or two anonymously to a picnic and just hang around to listen to the comments.

I know budget is a concern. Just let people know it's R&D and go with something simple. When ready, give out a few samples properly packaged, with prototype labels, to some peers for honest comments and reviews. Not friends and family.

Good luck and have fun!
SL
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#6 BadWolf

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 06:01 PM

When Giving out samples in plastic bottles, the recipients might think they are shelf stable.

How about using 2 oz or 4 oz condiment cups, the ones you get salsa and hot sauce in with a ToGo order from a Mexican restaurant? Probably cheaper. And people would know it's not shelf stable.

Or pony up for glass jars/ bottles. There are 2 oz bottles that can HFH.


There's a couple posts around about how much weight to give input from friends and coworkers. It's better to take a bottle or two anonymously to a picnic and just hang around to listen to the comments.

I know budget is a concern. Just let people know it's R&D and go with something simple. When ready, give out a few samples properly packaged, with prototype labels, to some peers for honest comments and reviews. Not friends and family.

Good luck and have fun!
SL


Thanks SL! Never thought about the restaurant sauce containers, that makes perfect sense! I saw another post about friends & family opinions, definitely taking everything with a grain of salt.

#7 salsalady

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Posted 09 May 2019 - 10:05 PM

Containers and lids are available, usually in 50/100 count sleeves, at food service stores, which are open to the public. Or ask at the local deli. They will sell a sleeve, but you may have to talk to someone other than the counter clerk. And a smaller store might be able to help you better than big chain store.

Where I live, the food service store is 90 miles away....one way! The deli and meat departments in the local grocery store are very good at working with me. Either ordering cases of containers of what I want or selling a sleeve of what they already have and use.


Good luck!
SL
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