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 1. Field of the Invention
 This invention relates generally to the field of packaging technology, and more specifically to retortable plastic containers, which are used for packaging a number of different products, such as baby foods.
 2. Description of the Related Technology
 Retortable containers, which may be defined as containers that are designed to withstand high temperatures, are used in the packaging of products such as baby foods. The retort process is used to sterilize and/or cook the material within the container. Historically, glass containers were used for this purpose. More recently, however, plastic retortable containers have gained widespread acceptance in the industry. One problem with the use of plastic containers is that the shape of the container will tend to distort at high temperatures, particularly when the high temperature causes high pressures to be developed within the container. This distortion can cause failure of the container or the seal between the container and its closure and, in severe cases, the container never returns to its original shape.
 A certain amount of resistance to temperature and pressure induced deformation can be imparted to the container by increasing the sidewall thickness of the container, however doing so substantial increases the cost of the container. An alternative solution that has been proposed involves designing one portion of the container to be flexible so as to accommodate the need for expansion when pressure within the container increases during the retort process. In U.S. Pat. No. 5,217,737, for example, the bottom portion of the container is designed to be flexible so as to accommodate the need for expansion.
 A need exists for a retortable plastic container that exhibits an increased resistance to deformation during the retort process.
 Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide a retortable plastic container that exhibits an increased resistance to deformation during the retort process.
 In order to achieve the above and other objects of the invention, a retortable plastic container that is constructed according to a first aspect of the invention includes a finish portion; and a main body portion that is integral with the finish portion, the main body portion comprising a sidewall having an inner surface that defines an interior space and an outer surface, the sidewall being fabricated from a material comprising a plastic material, and wherein the sidewall is shaped so as to have at least one radially inwardly extending annular projection defined therein, the annular projection providing reinforcement against radial expansion of the main body portion during the retort process.
 A retortable plastic container that is constructed according to a second aspect of the invention includes a finish portion; a main body portion that is integral with the finish portion, the main body portion comprising a sidewall having an inner surface that defines an interior space and an outer surface, the sidewall being fabricated from a material comprising a plastic material; a bottom portion; and a bottom transition portion connecting the bottom portion to the main body portion, the bottom transition portion having at least one inwardly radiused annular step defined therein.
 These and various other advantages and features of novelty that characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed hereto and forming a part hereof. However, for a better understanding of the invention, its advantages, and the objects obtained by its use, reference should be made to the drawings which form a further part hereof, and to the accompanying descriptive matter, in which there is illustrated and described a preferred embodiment of the invention.
 Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals designate corresponding structure throughout the views, and referring in particular to
 Referring now to
 Referring now to
 Preferably, the radii that define the first and second steps
 It is to be understood, however, that even though numerous characteristics and advantages of the present invention have been set forth in the foregoing description, together with details of the structure and function of the invention, the disclosure is illustrative only, and changes may be made in detail, especially in matters of shape, size and arrangement of parts within the principles of the invention to the full extent indicated by the broad general meaning of the terms in which the appended claims are expressed.