For most shelf stable fluid products it is necessary to obtain a Scheduled Process prior to processing.
A scheduled process is your recipe and procedure, which has been review and edited by a recognized process authority. With very few exceptions, if you are making a product that is fluid and shelf stable, you will be required to have a scheduled process.
The FDA regulates the production of food and requires that the scheduled process be registered with the FDA.
The links below will take you to some recognized process authorities:
Food Science New England – – Fred Jewett – email@example.com
University of Maine
North Carolina State University
To obtain a scheduled process, you will submit:
- Your recipe. Each ingredient must be measured by weight (pounds, ounces, grams, kilograms). Choose one unit of measure stick with it.
- Your method. This is the production steps.
The scheduled process is formal document and must be followed exactly, by you or by your co-packer.
You can expect to pay between $95 and $175 per process at the time of this post (February 2016).
It is to your advantage to streamline the process and allow for as many variables as possible. For example, if you make 5 fl oz bottles, but you think maybe in the future, you want to make half gallons, ask the process authority to write it for “4 fl oz up to 128 fl oz”
You may also ask them to write statements such as “Water maybe added to thin the product to the correct consistency” or “Vinegar maybe added to adjust pH”
If it is not on the document, you are prohibited from making adjustments without permission.
It is also important for you to know how many gallons of product (this is a unit of volume) or unit of product produced by this quantity.
The process authority will make adjustments to your recipe and procedure to insure that it can be safely held at room temperature. This may include the addition of acid, salt, sugar or other additives to create the correct pH or water activity.
Do not be afraid to question the additions if you think that it will change the flavor or texture of the product. There may be other options.
Once you have your scheduled process, you are ready to go into production and can safely make a shelf stable product.