Tomato paste is a product produced from the process of concentrating tomato juice. Countries around the world have considered local standards for this product. However, here we have briefly summarized the relevant standards of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and other general concepts related to canned tomato paste standards. We review here the general concepts so that they can be generalized in similar cases to other standard codes with slight modifications.
The concentration parameter expresses the percentage of dissolved solids (except salt) in tomato paste, which is also known as Brix. According to the USDA standard, the Brix index is more than 24% acceptable, which is classified into the following 4 groups:
Tomato pastes with low concentration: 24 to 28 %
Tomato pastes with medium concentration: 28 to 32%
Tomato pastes with high concentration: 32 to 39.3%
Tomato pastes with very high concentration: more than 39.3%
The texture of tomato paste is a quality parameter that is determined by observation. This parameter is described by the following two terms:
Fine texture: Tomato paste has a smooth and uniform texture.
Coarse Texture: Tomato paste has a grainy and slightly granular texture.
The texture of tomato paste is usually a parameter that is more related to the taste of the final consumer. In other words, even if a tomato paste with the following texture is recognized as a standard paste, still mostly consumers prefer to use tomato paste that has a soft texture.
In terms of quality, the color of tomatoes should be in the range of red to relatively dark red. However, the color parameter can also be considered as a quantitative physical index. There are various methods to measure the color of tomato paste, the most common of which is the use of a spectrophotometer. The spectrophotometer device measures three parameters a, b and L, which according to the type of device and also the type of tested product (tomato paste, tomato sauce, etc.) specific formulas are used to measure color. For example, for BYK Gardner spectrophotometer, the formula for calculating tomato paste will be as follows:
The consistency of tomato paste is measured by the Bostwick test. In this test, first the tomato paste is diluted to a certain amount and then it is placed in a chamber above the Bostwick device. Then, the distance that the diluted sample travels in a certain time to move down the device under the influence of its weight, is read and expressed as the consistency index of tomato paste. According to the research done, diluting the tomato paste to the Brix range (12-16) and considering the time of 30 seconds will give the best estimate of this index.
Fresh tomatoes are the only main ingredient for the production of tomato paste. But according to the FAO standard, depending on the type of formulation of the final product, the use of the following 4 substances is also allowed:
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