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Pros and cons of doing shelf life trials

Pros and cons of doing shelf life trials

By Dr Mahsa Majzoobi

The Australia New Zealand Food requires that a date mark is provided on packaged food where the shelf life is less than two years.

Date marking provides consumers with a guide to the shelf life of a food product. Shelf life is based on quality and food safety considerations and will vary depending on many factors.

Shelf life determination is an important activity to ensure product quality and safety is maintained.

After developing all new products, it is vital to conduct shelf life studies and monitor and test relevant microbial, sensory and physicochemical changes (e.g. moisture content, acidity, pH or colour) as key product quality indicators under the right storage conditions to determine the product shelf life.

Pros of doing shelf life studies:

  • Consumers health and safety is protected
  • Ensuring business compliance with food standards and regulations
  • Product complaints can be reduced
  • Company’s reputation is not compromised due to product not meeting shelf life

Cons of doing shelf life studies:

  • It may require extensive resources and shelf life trials can become costly
  • It can be time consuming and may delay product launch
  • Shelf life testing does not include batch to batch production variations

 

Resources

AFGC Best Practice Guide – Date Marking

https://www.afgc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/AFGC-Best-Practice-Guide-Date-Marking-July-2016.pdf

NSW Food Authority – Shelf Life Testing

https://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/_Documents/scienceandtechnical/shelf_life_testing.pdf

FSANZ – Date Marking

https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/code/userguide/Pages/datemarking.aspx

 

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