What is the difference between high-acid and low-acid processing?

The FDA CFR113 defines low-acid foods (other than alcoholic beverages) as having a finished equilibrium pH greater than 4.6 and a water activity (aw) greater than .85. For example, tomato products having a finished equilibrium pH less than 4.7 are not classified as low-acid foods. The division between low-acid and high-acid foods is based on the limited pH growth of clostridium botulinim.

  • High-acid products have a pH lower than 4.6
  • Low-acid products have a pH level higher than 4.6

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