According to the company, liquid product can be dispensed from a flexible bag or pouch without bacteria or oxygen entering the package for the first time.
Because the contents are never exposed throughout the product's entire use-life, the necessity for preservatives and refrigeration is reduced or eliminated. And because of the tamper-proof closure and air-tight seal, the firm claims that product safety is enhanced.
Beverages, flowable foods, and even pharmaceutical products can therefore now be packaged and safely dispensed from flexible packages without breaking sterility. In addition, the aseptic gravity flow valve technology has opened new markets for low acid, non-preserved products that until now could not be dispensed from a flexible bag or pouch.
This is an important consideration for food manufacturers. There is increasing pressure on processors to guarantee the safety of products, with EU traceability legislation coming into force in January 2005. In addition, manufacturers are being hard pressed by both retailers and consumers to cut out preservatives and additives from prepared foods.
The GFV can be adapted to fit onto any flexible bag, pouch, or semi-rigid package and protect the package's contents from contamination. It can travel through aseptic fillers and withstand the highest levels of irradiation and steam sterilization required by the food and beverage and medical industries. It has a clean predictable flow rate and is user friendly.
IDC says that the GFV is the only valve to be certified aseptic by the National Food Labs and the Food and Drug Administration. It has also been awarded patents in the USA, China, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, with other patents pending worldwide.
GFV's first commercial application was in the field of dairy products and ready-to-drink coffee and tea beverages. IDC customised its Aseptic Gravity Flow Valve for Goodwest Industries' Cream Machine, an aseptic cream and milk dispenser, used in foodservice, speciality coffee and convenience stores.
The company claims to be in serious discussion with a wide variety of other end users. Juices, cocktail mixes, sauces, edible oils, liquid eggs, nutraceuticals, and saline and iodine solutions are among the products that IDC claims can reap quality and safety advantages by adopting the GFV. Global markets that have no access to refrigeration represent another broad opportunity.
US-based International Dispensing is a research and development company that develops and manufactures packaging and aseptic dispensing solutions for the foodservice industry.
The valve industry is a highly innovative and important sector of food production. Current drives to achieve greater manufacturing efficiency have focused attention on every aspect of processing.