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Understanding Factors Affecting the Shelf Life of Food Products

Quality, Safety, Stability, Microbial Growth and more factors - find out how to make the most out of your Products!

All food has a shelf life, whether it’s fresh, perishable, or non-perishable. Shelf life is the time after production that the food remains safe to eat or the period food can be used while maintaining its quality.

Numerous factors impact the rate of deterioration or loss of the original quality of food. These factors can be divided into two types: intrinsic (inherent to the nature of the food itself) or extrinsic (external conditions facing food).

The intrinsic factors that affect shelf life are those that respond to the recipe of the food. In the food industry, it is important that a manufacturer understands their product, including an understanding of:

  • The raw materials used in the product

  • The composition or formulation of the product

  • Water activity or the amount of free or      available water

  • The acidity or alkalinity of the product

  • The redox potential of the product and the availability of oxygen

Leveraging on the relevant information above, a manufacturer can select systems that will maximise the life of a product according to the needs that it may have.

Extrinsic factors that can impact on a products shelf life are those that are present in the processing, packaging, transport and storage of the product. These usually include:

  • Exposure to sunlight

  • Temperature

  • Humidity

  • Damage to packaging

  • Distribution and storage conditions

During the manufacturing, packaging, storage and shipping of a product, it is necessary to control its interaction with the above extrinsic factors. To control of the shelf life of a product, every one of the extrinsic factors must be taken into consideration.

Ugene Laboratory Services can provide all food manufacturers with guidance on determining the impact of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors on the potential stability and shelf life of their products. In conjunction with their Microbiological Testing and Chemistry Services, we are able to provide advice, and both accelerated and full term shelf life studies, that will enable your company to minimize wastage and ensure that the products you are selling are safe for the consumer and will protect your brand.

Get in touch with us to find out more on how we can help you can maximize the shelf life of your products and the future of your business.


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