February 1, 2023

Purdue’s popular aseptic processing and packaging workshop now offered online

Course presents knowledge key to food and pharmaceutical safety

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Modern grocery store shelves are filled with shelf-stable packaged foods. Everything from vegetables to dairy and meat products can be prepackaged and stored without the need for refrigeration, making them more accessible to consumers everywhere.

The process through which food and pharmaceutical products become shelf-stable starts with aseptic processing and packaging – a sterilization technique that Purdue University has been a leader in since the late 1960s.

One of Purdue’s contributions to the field is the Aseptic Processing and Packaging Workshop, a hands-on course that gives students a thorough introduction to the scientific and engineering principles behind aseptic processing and packaging. In 2022, Purdue held its 39th annual Aseptic Workshop, which is open to the general public.

In response to the continued popularity of the workshop, Purdue is now offering it in a fully online format. The online course will cover all the same topics as the in-person workshop, but students will complete their work virtually on a more flexible schedule.

“Each year, there are more participants who want to attend the course but cannot get enrolled due to the capacity for the in-person workshop, which is limited to 72 seats,” said Dharmendra Mishra, associate professor of food science at Purdue. “The online option will help extend the learnings to a wider aseptic community, especially for those whose schedules do not allow the dedicated time for an in-person workshop and for international participants.”

Topics presented in the online workshop include an overview of aseptic processing and packaging; microbial principles applied to aseptic processing; chemical considerations; principles of thermal processing and thermo-bacteriology; equipment features; packaging and assessment of the package's sealing integrity; and compliance considerations. Upon request, the workshop’s content can be customized to fit the individual needs of companies. This makes the online workshop a readily accessible upskilling tool for employees working in the aseptic packaging industry.

“Training of personnel is a key factor in keeping the food safe in commercial food manufacturing,” Mishra said. “It helps employees learn the fundamentals of manufacturing operations and steps that are taken to avoid potential risk to the food product. We collaborate with various corporate partners for their specific needs for empowering employees.”

The online course has open registration, and participants can start at any time. The workshop is worth 2.4 Continuing Education Units and 24 contact hours. It is open to all kinds of professionals from a variety of industries and taught by an aseptic processing expert.

To register for Purdue’s online Aseptic Processing and Packaging Workshop, visit the program’s website. 

Writer: Rachel Barton, barton53@purdue.edu

Source: Dharmendra Mishra, mishra67@purdue.edu

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