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Pros and cons of doing shelf life trials
By Dr Mahsa Majzoobi
Just after production food products are often at the peak of their quality, but many food products are unstable and during storage unwanted microbiological, physical and chemical changes continue to happen. This often results in quality deterioration and hence shelf life determination becomes crucial.
To comply with food regulations, all commercial food products have to have “expiry” or “best before” dates at the point of production. 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 and 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
- Always highquality foods are sold to customers
- Product rejections/returns are minimised
- Company’s reputation is not compromised
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 lunch
- Shelf life testing does not include batch to batch production variations