Manufacturers are responsible for determining the shelf-life of foods they produce. Predictive models can help determine shelf-life but laboratory testing of microbiological, chemical or sensory indicators within a food over time is often necessary.

Our custom-designed shelf-life studies enable the determination of a product’s use-by date. This service is needed for new product formulations, to verify a new production or storage method, or a change in distribution conditions.  Studies of this type are designed to help ensure quality throughout the lifecycle of your product.

During the study design phase, our team will assist in evaluating which component of the food product is most likely to fail during storage.  For many products, it is the growth of spoilage organisms.  In other products, this can include chemical changes such as lipid oxidation,  pH drift or nutrient degradation. Sensory changes such as odour, texture and  colour are also important aspects to be accessed within a shelf life study. 

The frequency of testing varies by the duration of the study.  A sufficient number of data points should be conducted to evaluate the progressive growth of the indigenous micro flora of the product.  The sampling depends on the degree of heterogeneity inter-lots.  If the batches are homogeneous, 1 lot is sufficient for testing. If the lots exhibit heterogeneity, three lots are necessary for testing

We take a case-by-case approach to designing shelf-life studies according to the specific formulation and customer requirements, using the following analytical methods:

•    Organoleptic parameters: appearance, colour, odour, general appearance
•    Physical-chemical parameters: pH value, viscosity, density, monitoring of ingredient formulation, lipid oxydation
•    Microbiological parameters: spoilage and indicator organism levels

At Mérieux NutriSciences Australia we offer real-time primary and secondary shelf life testing for a range of matrices.