Handling & Labeling Considerations
Vinegar is generally shipped in varying grain strengths in 55 gallon drums, 275 gallon disposable totes, or in tanker trailers. Shipping vinegar in concentrated form provides an advantage in reduced freight costs and storage space requirements, without affecting quality.
The amount of concentration of the vinegar is indicated by the grain strength, or grainage. In the U.S., the grain strength is calculated as 10 times the acid content expressed as acetic acid (i.e. 60 grain vinegar = 6% acetic acid and 120 grain = 12% acetic acid). Concentrated vinegars can then be diluted’ to desired strength during processing.
Bulk vinegar products in general are not pasteurized but have been filtered to remove extraneous particles. Manufacturers should take precautions not to expose vinegar to air. Cloudiness may result or formation of Mother.
Vinegar containing Mother is not harmful. If vinegar Mother is apparent, the substance can be removed by filtering and the organisms destroyed by heating or sterilization.
All vinegars, if properly handled, are very stable with respect to quality. The shelf life of vinegar can vary somewhat due to the type of vinegar, container, packing method, storage and transportation. White distilled vinegars, if not otherwise contaminated, will remain virtually unchanged for an almost indefinite period. Changes may be observed over time in other vinegars, particularly with respect to color and clarity. However, the only effect is an aesthetic one, and the product can still be used with confidence.
How should vinegar be labeled in the ingredients statement?
Manufacturers are required to indicate the common or usual name of each type of vinegar used as an ingredient. If a blend of several types of vinegars is used, all types used should be listed with the product names appearing in order of predominance. The Food and Drug Administration has stated that diluted glacial acetic acid is not vinegar. (Compliance Policy Guide 7120.11)
What is the procedure for diluting vinegar with water?
By using the following formula, vinegar can be diluted to any desired grain strength or acidity. However, to ensure accuracy of grain strength it is very important that the finished product be tested for acidity using the standard vinegar titration procedure adopted by The Vinegar Institute.
Beginning amount of vinegar (in any unit)
(X) Multiplied by beginning vinegar grain strength
(U) Divided by desired diluted grain strength
(=) Equals total amount of diluted vinegar at desired grain strength
(-) Less the beginning amount of vinegar
(=) Equals total amount of water to be added (same unit as vinegar above).
To make 50 grain vinegar from 500 gallons of 120 grain vinegar:
(X) 500 gallons X 120 grain = 60,000
(U) 60,000/50 grain (desired) = 1,200 gallons of 50 grain vinegar
(-) 1,200 gals. – 500 gals. = 700 gallons of water to be added
(=) So, if you add 700 gallons of water to 500 gallons of 120 grain vinegar, you will yield 1,200 gallons of 50 grain vinegar.
Pounds, inches, or any other unit of measure may be used in place of gallons.
After water is added, the mixture should be agitated thoroughly to ensure uniform dilution prior to final acidity testing.