In the Belgium Case Study, Ghent University investigated the issue of microbial contamination of pre-stacked recyclable packaging materials for food, such as PP, PET and PE containers or pouches. In small to large-scale (semi) liquid food producers, including those employing aseptic packaging techniques, instances of microbial presence were identified during sampling campaigns in packaging halls. This discovery underscored the need for robust sterilization to maintain packaging and ensure the safety and quality of food products, especially for Intermediate Value Chains (IVCs) where ensuring product integrity and safety is paramount to fostering consumer trust and supporting the sustainability goals of the value chain..

A disinfection technique with peracetic acid (PAA) vapor offers a promising solution to ensure the sterility of spouted pouches for liquid foods In vapor form. PAA addresses challenges associated with the traditional liquid, such as reducing water usage and minimizing chemical residue, , aligning with the sustainability and resilience principles of Intermediate Food Value Chains (IVCs). The technique was tested with a prototype disinfection unit, constructed by Scaldopack which allowed controlled delivery of sterile, hot compressed air and vaporized peracetic acid onto spouted pouches.

Crucial process parameters are monitored spore inoculation with resistant bio-indicators, like the mould Aspergillus niger, ensure precise contamination for accurately assessing disinfection efficacy.