Product shelf life testing is a value-added service for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers. Shelf-life testing helps to determine the length of time a product can be stored in a specific environment before it starts to lose quality, taste, or freshness. This is important for producers and brands because it helps them decide how long they should ship products before selling them. Consumers also benefit from this information because it tells them how long they can keep products at home before throwing them away. During shelf life testing, experts in Shelf-Life Testing in UAE will examine samples of a product and determine the optimum storage temperature and other factors that affect quality over time.
2 Requirements of Good Shelf-life Testing
As the saying goes, time and tide wait for no man. This is especially true in the world of food. As soon as a food product leaves the production line, it starts to go stale and loses its freshness. And as every retailer knows, this can have a drastic effect on sales.
Quality vs safety in shelf-life testing
But what exactly is the shelf life? And why is it so important that the ancient Greeks allegedly used to judge the quality of a wine by how long it could be left on a shelf?
There are two qualities that we should test for when examining food: quality and safety. Quality refers to whether or not the food product has deteriorated to such an extent that it is no longer safe for consumption. The food industry stands on two pillars of quality and safety, but more often than not, quality takes precedence over safety because of consumer perception.
Consequently, retailers are sometimes reluctant to take up shelf-life testing programs because of their inherent cost and perceived negative impact on consumer perception of quality. However, without an accurate understanding of shelf life, retailers can unknowingly sell products that are unsafe or past their prime – which is ultimately a far greater risk than any negative consumer perception.
Thus why it’s very important to choose the right Testing Laboratory in Dubai for the product you want to sell online or in stores. The testing laboratory should be highly reputable with experience in shelf-life testing, URS Lab is one of them. We have a strong and advanced analytical chemistry department. That is the most important part of quality and safe shelf-life testing.
Factors that affect the shelf life of a product
Food Products Testing in UAE to examine the shelf life of products determines how long products can remain at optimum freshness levels (called the “best before date”) and still be sold for consumption.
The shelf life of a product depends on one of two factors: intrinsic or extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are those that are inherent in the product. They can be controlled by the manufacturer, such as temperature during storage and distribution, humidity, pack size and type, packaging materials, and even some amount of product handling. These factors are in place to make sure that the product reaches its market in optimal condition.
Extrinsic factors are those that are beyond the control of manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. They include conditions such as transportation methods, weather conditions during transportation or distribution, storage conditions and amounts of time at these storage facilities, handling by retail personnel and consumers prior to purchase; environmental conditions like pollutants in air or water; foreign objects like glass fragments or hairs; pests like rodents; acts of God such as tornadoes or hurricanes; etc.
Storage conditions – Temperature/humidity/light exposure
Exposure to contaminants – Moisture/dust/other environmental pollutants
Exposure to microbes – Bacteria/fungi (microbiological challenge)
Appropriate test methods – Equipment standards and validation processes must be followed precisely.
Food Microbiology Testing in Dubai involves the use of microorganisms to determine the approximate time at which a food product may become unsafe to consume due to spoilage or pathogen growth. Chemical testing is used to determine the decrease in quality of the product over time, for example, the amount of fat loss in butter. Analytical methods include measuring physical properties like pH, sugar content, and viscosity of honey.
Signs of Product Expiration
End-of-shelf life indicators (ESLIs) are the changes in physical, chemical, or microbiological properties that can be used to predict when a product is approaching or has exceeded its shelf life.
As product quality degrades, the sensory properties of a product will change. Changes in texture, color, or consistency can be detected with the human senses. However, these observations are subjective and are not quantifiable throughout time. It is critical to understand the changes that are occurring as a product approaches its end of shelf life (ESL).
Sensory changes: tell whether the product retains its original appearance, taste, and smell.
Physical changes: mechanical; oxidation; hydrolysis; physical decay.
Physical indicators show whether the texture and weight of the product have changed. The temperature of a food is an example of a physical indicator.
Chemical changes: based on chemical reactions that occur between ingredients or packaging materials enzymatic; chemical reaction; hydrolysis; biochemical reaction.
Microbiological changes: involve growing bacteria in a nutrient medium to detect the presence of microorganisms in the product. Such as spoilage; putrefaction; fermentation; oxidative spoilage.
The shelf life of a perishable product is not a fixed time. If the manufacturer’s quality assurance testing process is designed and conducted properly, the product could have a long shelf life; on the other hand, it could also have a short shelf life, if the system for monitoring the product’s quality is not done correctly.
In order to have the best quality products, experts in food chemical testing in Dubai explain what is required to ensure that foods are safe and of good quality. The most important thing to test before you release a product on the market is shelf life testing as it tests the quality of your product and makes sure that food safety is not affected by this.
What can URS Testing Laboratory do for you?
URS Testing Lab uses applies a simple, flexible and efficient accelerated testing procedure that has been highly validated using worldwide recognized reference methods and procedures. URS Testing Lab is dedicated to the development of its testing capacities, including shelf-life testing, sensory evaluation, and consumer acceptance. Enroll your employees in Microbiology Hands-on Training Course UAE for in house shelf life testing activities.