Course Outline

This course is designed to provide training in the operation of over-pressure retorts (e.g. Lagarde, Steriflow, KM and FMC) and standard steam retorts for processing cans, glass containers and plastic containers and the theory of thermal processing.

In order to satisfactorily complete the programme and be registered as a Certified Retort Supervisor it is necessary to:

  • Achieve a pass standard in a practical examination, during which participants operate a batch retort and/or a UHT system and explain the function of the major components of each.
  • Achieve a pass standard in a written examination in which participants display their understanding of theoretical aspects of the course.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the concepts discussed.
  • Present findings of a group’ HACCP review of a heat processing operation conducted during the course.

Course Objectives

  • To provide theoretical and practical understanding of those factors important in the selection and delivery of thermal process schedules.
  • To provide experience and understanding of the operation of over-pressure and steam retorts and/or UHT systems.
  • To provide awareness of the application of HACCP in the production of heat processed packaged foods.
  • To provide experience and understanding in the selection and use of packaging materials.
  • To provide awareness of the factors affecting the pressure generated in sealed containers during thermal processing.
  • To ensure all participants are aware of the safety risks inherent in the manufacture of heat processed packaged foods.

Training Modules

Class Modules

  • Microbiology of cannery operations
  • Thermal processing concepts
  • Microbial heat resistance and determination of target values
  • Cleaning and sanitising
  • Heat penetration
  • Retorting, over-pressure and UHT systems
  • Techniques for validating retort performance
  • HACCP in manufacture of heat processed foods
  • Packaging systems for heat processed foods
  • Auditing a heat treatment

Practical Sessions

  • Review of swabbing and environmental cleanliness
  • Measurement of the pH of heat processed foods.
  • Heat penetration rates and methods for determination of F values
  • Assessment of Temperature Distribution data
  • HACCP analysis of food production

Course Assessment

Interview examination:

This is the most important of the assessments. There shall be around 30 questions for which you shall have to provide short correct answers. The examination will be conducted via online interview; however you may not refer to the manual or notes that you have made during the week.

Practical examination:

During this session, you shall have to demonstrate that you understand the features of the batch retort on which you have worked during the week, including the control panel and the manner in which the retort operates. You shall also have to explain the operation of the retort according to a Standard Operating Procedure. You shall have ample opportunity to familiarise yourself with this operating procedure during the week and to ask questions about the unit.

HACCP Presentation:

As part of a group you shall present the results of your analysis of a production process including identification of all Critical Control Points (CCPs).