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1. (WO2011137413) READY TO FEED CONTAINER AND METHOD
Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

What is claimed is:

1. A container for storing and dispensing a product, the container comprising:

a body defining a chamber for storing the product and an outflow port periphery defining an outflow port in fluid communication with the chamber; and

a container closure including:

a primary seal;

a secondary seal forming a substantially fluid-tight seal between the container closure and the body; and

a dispensing member defining an outlet aperture in fluid communication with the body;

wherein at least one of the container closure and body is movable relative to the other between a first position where the primary seal at least one of i) extends into the outflow port in a direction toward the chamber and sealingly engages a surface of the outflow port periphery that is internal to the outflow port and ii) sealingly engages a surface of the outflow port periphery that is external to the outflow port and extends along said surface in a direction toward the chamber to hermetically seal the product in the chamber, and a second position where the primary seal is displaced from the outflow port to place the dispensing member in fluid communication with the outflow port and allow product to pass from the chamber through the outflow port and to the outlet aperture of the dispensing member.

2. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein a radial thickness of the primary seal adjacent to the outflow port periphery is greater than a radial thickness of the outflow port periphery.

3. A container as defined in claim 2, wherein said radial thickness of the primary seal is at least about 50% greater than said radial thickness of the outflow port periphery.

4. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein the secondary seal extends from the closure in a radially- inward direction.

5. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein the container closure includes a first barrier layer and a second barrier layer, wherein the first barrier layer defines more than about 50% of the internal surface of the container closure.

6. A container as defined in claim 1 , further including at least one additional chamber, the at least one additional chamber located in at least one of (i) the body of the container, (ii) the container closure and (ii) a combination of the body of the container and container closure, and is in fluid communication with the chamber when the primary seal is in the second position, wherein the chamber stores a first substance, the at least one additional container stores at least one additional substance, the first substance and the at least one additional substance forming the dispensed product.

7. A container as defined in claim 1 , further comprising a portion that is penetrable by an injection or filling member, and a resulting injection aperture in the penetrable portion is resealable.

8. A container as defined in claim 7, wherein the elastomeric portion is resealable by at least one of a) thermally resealing; b) liquid sealant and c) a covering portion placed over the injection aperture.

9. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein the primary seal is penetrable by an injection member for aseptically filling the chamber with the product through the injection member, and is resealable to seal the product within the chamber.

10. A container as defined in claim 9, wherein the primary seal is resealable by at least one of a) thermally resealing; b) liquid sealant and c) a covering portion placed thereover.

1 1. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein the dispensing member is eccentrically mounted on the closure and defines an axis of symmetry that is oriented at an acute angle relative to an elongated axis of the body, and wherein the closure further defines a vent aperture that is laterally spaced from the dispensing member on an approximately opposite side of the closure relative to the dispensing member for improving the flow of product between the chamber and outlet aperture when the container closure is in the second position.

12. A container as defined in claim 1 , further comprising a sealing member that is movable between a first position sealing at least one of (i) the outlet aperture, (ii) the vent aperture and (iii) the outlet aperture and the vent aperture, and a second position opening at least one of (i) the outlet aperture, (ii) the vent aperture and (iii) the outlet aperture and the vent aperture.

13. A container as defined in claim 12, wherein the sealing member is frangibly connected to the dispensing member and container closure such that in the first position the sealing member is connected to at least one of the dispensing member and container closure, and in the second position the sealing member is disconnected from at least one of the dispensing member and container closure.

14. A container as defined in claim 1 1 , wherein the dispensing member is a nipple.

15. A container as defined in claim 14, wherein the nipple includes a stem portion and a tip portion, the outlet aperture extending trough the stem portion and tip portion.

16. A container as defined in claim 15, wherein the nipple is at least one of a round nipple, a bi-stable nipple, and a stretchable nipple.

17. A container as defined in claim 15, wherein the container closure has an outer convexed surface, and the nipple extends outwardly from the outer convexed surface.

18. A container as defined in claim 17, wherein the outer convexed surface in combination with the nipple replicate the shape and feel of a female breast.

19. A container as defined in claim 14, wherein the container closure defines a central region and the nipple is laterally spaced relative to the central region.

20. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein the container closure rotates between the first position and the second position about a longitudinal axis of the container.

21. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein the container closure further comprises a radially-inwardly projecting member and the body further comprises at least one of a) a first detent configured to releaseably engage the member in the first position; and b) a second detent configured to engage the member in the second position and to substantially prevent the container closure from moving out of the second position.

22. A container as defined in claim 21 , wherein the first detent is configured to permit the container closure to substantially move in only a single direction toward the second position,

23. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein the dispensing member is at least one of (i) a drinking spout, (ii) a drinking spout including a one-way check valve, wherein the check valve opens under negative pressure to allow the product to exit the outlet aperture, and (iii) a push-pull cap, wherein the outlet aperture is closed when the cap is in the retracted push position and the outlet aperture is open when the cap is in the extended pull position.

24. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein the chamber is adapted for storing a fat containing liquid product; the body, sealing member and dispensing member do not leach more than a predetermined amount of leachables into the fat containing liquid product and do not undesirably alter a taste profile of the fat containing liquid product; and the predetermined amount of leachables is less than about 100 PPM.

25. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein the container closure further includes a securing portion connectable to the body for securing the container closure to the body.

26. A container as defined in claim 25, wherein the securing portion is at least one of threadedly connected to and snap-fit to the body.

27. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein the body is made from a blow molded polymer.

28. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein the primary seal includes a

thermoplastic elastomer that is heat resealable to hermetically seal a penetration aperture by applying laser radiation at a predetermined wavelength and power thereto, and defines (i) a predetermined wall thickness, (ii) a predetermined color and opacity that substantially absorbs the laser radiation at the predetermined wavelength and substantially prevents the passage of radiation through the predetermined wall thickness thereof, and (iii) a predetermined color and opacity that causes the laser radiation at the predetermined wavelength and power to

hermetically seal the penetration aperture in a predetermined time period of less than or equal to about 5 seconds and substantially without burning the primary seal.

29. A container as defined in claim 1 , wherein the primary seal includes a

thermoplastic elastomer that is heat resealable to hermetically seal a penetration aperture by applying laser radiation at a predetermined wavelength and power thereto, and includes (i) a styrene block copolymer; (ii) an olefin; (iii) a predetermined amount of pigment that allows the primary seal to substantially absorb laser radiation at the predetermined wavelength and substantially prevent the passage of radiation through the predetermined wall thickness thereof, and hermetically seal the penetration aperture in a predetermined time period of less than or equal to about 5 seconds; and (iv) a predetermined amount of lubricant that reduces friction forces at an interface of the injection member and primary seal during penetration thereof.

30. A container as defined in claim 1 , further including a removable overcap attached to at least one of the container closure and body.

31. An assembly comprising a container as defined in claim 1 ; a filling apparatus comprising a manifold including a plurality of injection members spaced relative to each other and movable relative to a container support for penetrating a plurality of containers mounted on the support within the filling apparatus, filling the containers through the injection members, and withdrawing the injection members from the filled containers; and a plurality of assemblies connectable to a source of radiation for applying radiation to a penetration spot on a penetrable and resealable portion of a respective container closure and resealing a respective injection member penetration aperture therein.

32. An assembly as recited in claim 31 , wherein the assemblies comprise laser optic assemblies connectable to a laser radiation source and focusable substantially on the penetration spot for applying laser radiation thereto and resealing thereof.

33. An assembly as recited in claim 31 , further comprising:

a housing defining an inlet end, an outlet end, and a sterile zone between the inlet and outlet ends;

conveyor located at least partially within the sterile zone and defining a plurality of container positions thereon for supporting and moving containers in a direction from the inlet end toward the outlet end through the sterile zone;

a fluid sterilant station located within the sterile zone and coupled in fluid communication with a source of fluid sterilant for transmitting fluid sterilant onto the container closure of a respective container supported on the conveyor within the fluid sterilant station and sterilizing an exposed penetrable and resealable portion of the respective container closure; and

at least one sterilant removing station located within the sterile zone between the fluid sterilant station and the outlet end of the housing, and coupled in fluid communication with a source of gas for transmitting the gas onto a container supported on the conveyor within the at least one sterilant removing station to flush away fluid sterilant on the container;

wherein the manifold and assemblies are located within the sterile zone between the at least one sterilant removing station and the outlet end of the housing for receiving the sterilized containers therefrom.

34. An assembly as defined in claim 31 , wherein the fluid sterilant is hydrogen peroxide.

35. An assembly as defined in claim 31 , further comprising a source of sterile gas coupled in fluid communication with the sterile zone for creating an over pressure of sterile gas within the sterile zone, and means for directing a flow of sterile gas substantially in a direction from the outlet end toward the inlet end of the housing to thereby prevent fluid sterilant from flowing onto containers located adjacent to the needle manifold.

36. A container for storing a product comprising:

first means for providing a chamber for receiving the product and for providing an outflow port periphery defining an outflow port in fluid communication with the chamber;

second means for closing the chamber of the first means; wherein the second means includes third means for forming a substantially fluid-tight seal between the first means and the second means;

fourth means for insertion into a user's mouth and drawing with the mouth product from the chamber therethrough; and

fifth means for at least one of i) extending into the outflow port in a direction toward the chamber and sealingly engaging a surface of the outflow port periphery that is internal to the outflow port and ii) sealingly engaging a surface of the outflow port periphery that is external to the outflow port and extends along said surface in a direction toward the chamber for

hermetically sealing the product in the chamber.

37. A container as defined in claim 36, further comprising sixth means for allowing penetration of the second means by the injection member for aseptically filling the chamber with the product through the injection member, and for allowing resealing of the second means to seal the product within the chamber.

38. A container as defined in claim 36, wherein the first means is a container body, the second means is a container closure, the third means is a sealing member, the fourth means is a nipple, and the fifth means is a sealing member that is movable between a first position to hermetically seal the product in the chamber and a second position to allow the product to flow out of the chamber and into the nipple for dispensing.

39. A container as defined in claim 37, wherein the sixth means is a penetrable and resealable elastomeric portion that is penetrable by the injection member for aseptically filling the chamber with the product through the injection member, and that is resealable to seal the product within the chamber.

40. A container as defined in claim 39, wherein the elastomeric portion is resealable by at least one of a) thermally resealing by the application of laser radiation or energy thereto; b) liquid sealant and c) a covering portion placed thereover.

41. A method comprising the following steps:

(i) filling a container with a product, wherein the container comprises a body defining a sealed, empty chamber for storing the product and an outflow port periphery defining an outflow port in fluid communication with the chamber; and a container closure, the container closure including a primary seal, a secondary seal forming a substantially fluid-tight seal between the container closure and the body, and a dispensing member defining an outlet aperture in fluid communication with the body, wherein at least one of the container closure and body is movable relative to the other between a first position where the primary seal at least one of i) extends into the outflow port in a direction toward the chamber and sealingly engages a surface of the outflow port periphery that is internal to the outflow port and ii) sealingly engages a surface of the outflow port periphery that is external to the outflow port and extends along said surface in a direction toward the chamber to hermetically seal the chamber during storage, and a second position where the primary seal is displaced from the outflow port to open the chamber;

wherein the filling step comprises:

(a) at least one of (1) sterilizing the body and container closure, (2) molding the body and container closure with a sealed, empty, sterile chamber at the time of molding, and (3) assembling the body and closure upon molding so that the assembled container defines a sealed, empty, sterile chamber;

(b) introducing an injection member in fluid communication with a source of the product into fluid communication with the chamber;

(c) aseptically filling the chamber with the product through the injection member; and

(d) withdrawing the injection member from the chamber and resealing the chamber with respect to the ambient atmosphere; and

(ii) aseptically storing the product in the sealed chamber with the primary seal in the first position to hermetically seal the product in the chamber with respect to the ambient atmosphere.

42. A method as defined in claim 41 , further comprising moving at least one of the container closure and body relative to the other from the first position to the second position; placing the chamber in fluid communication with the dispensing member; and dispensing the product through the dispensing member.

43. A method as defined in claim 42, wherein the container further comprises a dispensing member in the form of a nipple eccentrically located on the closure and a vent laterally spaced relative to the nipple and in fluid communication with the chamber in the second position, and wherein the dispensing step further comprises allowing air to vent through the vent while liquid flows through the nipple and substantially preventing air from flowing through the nipple.