Chapter 4 - Inspection Criteria for a Sugar Bush Establishment
4.11 Closure of containers

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4.11.1 Closure of Containers (Including Drums)

Principal

The hermetic closure of containers is controlled during seaming/capping/sealing to ensure a quality product that is hygienically prepared to avoid contamination.

Assessment Criteria

General

  • inspection and protection of covers against any damage or contamination
  • protection of filled containers against any damage or contamination
  • inversion of containers of maple syrup after hot filling to sterilize the head space and the covers (except drums)
  • closure of containers within an appropriate time period to maintain the temperature of the product
  • visual examination of the containers after closure by personnel trained for this purpose

Equipment for seaming/sealing/capping containers

  • maintenance and setting according to manufacturer instructions to hermetically seal the containers

Sealing of flexible pouches (such as "maple syrup in carton with spout"), single-serving packs and tetrapacks

  • use of correctly molded, undamaged containers
  • compatible sealing materials
  • flat, smooth, parallel sealing surfaces that are in good condition
  • adequate pressure for the sealing tool to keep the pieces together
  • pieces held together by the sealing tool for an adequate length of time
  • adequate fusion temperature

Control of glass and earthenware breakage

  • protection of the hopper for caps or covers
  • maintenance and setting of the capping equipment preventing wear to the ring or the rim of the glass or earthenware to ensure a hermetic closure
  • making sure no debris from glass or earthenware gets inside or around the capping equipment
  • regular adjustment of the capping heads based on the results of the visual examination

Protection during analysis and grading

  • covers and containers
    • protected from any damage or contamination
    • adequately reclosed

Rating I - Examples

  • Shards of metal, glass or earthenware greater than 2 mm in the food compartment or in the capping equipment.

Rating II - Examples

  • Area around the sealing equipment not inspected regularly to ensure that there are no shards of glass or earthenware.

Rating III - Examples

  • Area around the sealing equipment not inspected regularly to ensure that there are no contaminants.
  • Equipment for seaming/capping/sealing containers not maintained according to manufacturer instructions and not hermetically sealing the containers.
  • Inadequate protection of covers and containers against damages or contamination (ex. inadequate repair or setting, peeling paint, rust or excessive lubrication).
  • Packaging and containers that are poorly closed during seaming/capping/sealing or after sampling.
  • Capping heads that are not adjusted to ensure a hermetic closure.
  • No inversion after hot filling and closure to sterilize the headspace and the covers.
  • Sealing defects due to defective pouches or those placed incorrectly on the sealing machine sleeve.

References

  • MPR, subsections 3.2 (1), 7 (5), 10 (7)
  • Flexible Retort Pouch Defects - Identification and Classification Manual (May 31, 2002)
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