Monday, November 29, 2010

Value Added - Acidified Foods

What is an acidified food?

According to FDA's 21 CFR 114 the definition of acidified foods means "low-acid foods to which acid(s) or acid food(s) are added; these foods include, but are not limited to, beans, cucumbers, cabbage, artichokes, cauliflower, puddings, peppers, tropical fruits, and fish, singly or in any combination. They have a water activity (aw) greater than 0.85 and have a finished equilibrium pH of 4.6 or below".

1. Acidified foods must have both low acid and high acid components.

2. Primarily acid foods do not have low acid components and contain only acid ingredients.

What is NOT an Acidified Food?

It is often useful to state what is not an acidified food when defining acidified foods. The regulation does this, in part, in §114.3(b).

Acid foods - Those foods such as most tomatoes and many fruits, which have a natural pH of 4.6 or less even if acid is added during processing.

Repacked Acidified or Fermented Foods - Previously acidified or fermented foods, which are usually received in bulk, and which are then repacked into retail size containers, generally with the addition of a fresh acid brine, are not acidified foods as long as the repacker does nothing, such as washing, to raise the pH above 4.6 prior to packing. If there is a washing step to remove the old brine, or any other similar processing step, determine the pH of the product prior to the addition of the fresh acid brine.

Fermented foods - Foods such as some kinds of cucumber pickles, most green olives and sauerkraut are not acidified foods because pH reduction is not accomplished by the addition of acids or acid foods.

Carbonated beverages - The products excluded from these regulations are those beverages which until 1989 were covered by a standard of identity (21 CFR 165) for Soda Water. They were excluded because of their low pH and the fact that CO2 is somewhat bacteriostatic.

Jams, Jellies, Preserves - The products excluded from these regulations are only those covered by the standard of identity (21 CFR 150). This is because the water activity is low (because of the minimum brix) and the pH is low since they are all made from acid fruits. Any non-standardized products labeled using these terms must conform to certain product attributes set forth in the standard such as, but not limited to, brix, consistency, acidity and fruit/sugar ratio in order to be exempt (refer to CPG 550.475).

Refrigerated foods - Products which rely, in part, on refrigeration for preservation and are stored, distributed and retailed under refrigeration are not covered by these regulations even if they are low-acid foods which are acidified.

In order to qualify for this exclusion, the product must be refrigerated after processing and the label must prominently bear the statement "Must Be Kept Refrigerated To Maintain Safety" (refer to FR Vol. 62, No. 36, February 24, 1997 Guidance on Labeling of Foods That Need Refrigeration by Consumers).

Water Activity 0.85 or less - Any food, which always has a water activity of 0.85, or less is excluded from coverage under these regulations.
(taken from
For more information on acidified foods go the the Food and Drug Administration webpage.

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