What are the specifications required to can beans in a glass jar following the hot-fill-hold regulations from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)?

The way that most industrial food manufacturers safely can pickles and tomato sauce is with a carefully-controlled sterilization method known as hot-fill-hold. When I've researched this method, I mostly find information only on acidic foods.

a photo of a pickle jar in clear glass with a brown twist-top lid
A typical pickle jar sold in the US is safely canned following the hot-fill-hold requirements of the USDA. Credit: Dom Dada

But what about canning non-acidic foods with hot-fill-hold? I can only find information on the USDA's website about meats, but I'm trying to find information about plant protein sources: legumes.

Where can I find the USDA regulations that specify the requirements for canning beans using the hot-fill-hold method?

  • 1
    If boiling water canning were sufficient to safely can low-acid foods, why would anyone bother with a pressure canner?
    – Sneftel
    Jan 22 at 7:41
  • pressure caners are used for small-scale home canning. Industrial-scale food producers do not use them. Jan 22 at 14:09
  • 3
    Of course they do. They're called "retorts" in an industrial setting, and they're much bigger and more complex than home pressure cookers but they operate via the same principle.
    – Sneftel
    Jan 22 at 14:25

1 Answer 1


Hot, fill, hold is usually used on acidified foods. That is why you find it being used with pickles. Green beans or any other low acid food would need to be pressure canned. Using the hot, fill, hold method on low acid foods does NOT mitigate the risk of botulism. Statement from USDA.

  • Do you have a reference that you can link-to directly from the USDA that says this? Jan 22 at 2:05
  • @MichaelAltfield...added.
    – moscafj
    Jan 22 at 2:11
  • thanks. sorry, but the links you describe talk about small-scale at-home canning. How do the industrial-scale food manufacturers can beans? Jan 22 at 14:11
  • 1
    @MichaelAltfield youtube.com/watch?v=Qx7qV9YI39E
    – Sneftel
    Jan 22 at 14:25
  • 2
    @MichaelAltfield If you have a question about how retorts work, you should ask it as a new question. Briefly, though, it's not necessary to release air if the pressure outside the can is kept similar to the pressure inside the can as the temperature changes.
    – Sneftel
    Jan 22 at 14:39

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