Shelf Life Testing:
Shelf life testing is determined by testing a food product to a period when product can be consumed without any risk. Food product shelf life is dependent of several factors e.g. water activity, pH, temperature, nutrition, oxygen, storage conditions etc. These may include composition of product, methods of preservation and handling conditions.
It is really a challenge to extend shelf life of a product. Due to customer’s demand for food with less sugar or fat, fewer additives and with added health benefits food is often poses risk of shorten shelf life. When a food becomes unfit for consumption before the labelled date it leads to product recall.
The best-before date is the last date on which you can expect a food to maintain all of its quality attributes, provided it has been stored at recommended storage conditions and the package is unopened. These quality attributes include colour, taste, texture, and flavour and quality for which you make claims, such as the freshness of the food.
The use-by date is the last date on which the food may be eaten safely, provided it has been stored according to any stated storage conditions and the package is unopened. After this date, the food should not be eaten for health and safety reasons. It is illegal to sell food product with past use by date. However, food can still be sold after best before date.
The food business must ensure that product is capable retaining its characteristics till the use by date or best before date. Nav Labs (Aus) offers invaluable expertise in food product shelf life testing and verification. We have experts who analyse the test results and make recommendations.
There is more information available on NSW food authority website.
The food product shelf life testing is determined by the following parameters:
- Microbiological stability and safety
- Physicochemical changes
- Loss of functionality
- Sensory changes
At Nav Labs, we help to verify the shelf life of an existing product or validate new products:
- Chemical analysis
- Microbiological analysis
- Physical analysis
- Sensory analysis
- Accelerated shelf life testing
- Challenge testing