Food Science

Topics: Food, Food safety, Shelf life Pages: 18 (5519 words) Published: August 26, 2013
A Guide to Calculating the Shelf Life of Foods
Information Booklet for the Food Industry

Published in February 2005 by New Zealand Food Safety Authority PO Box 2835, Wellington, New Zealand ISBN 0-478-07865-X This document is available on the New Zealand Food Safety Authority’s web site: http://www.nzfsa.govt.nz Disclaimer Every effort has been made to ensure the information in this publication is correct. NZFSA does not accept any responsibility or liability whatsoever for any error of fact, omission, interpretation or opinion that may be present, however it may have occured.

A Gu i d e t o C a l cu l a t i n g t h e She lf Lif e of Foods

A Guide to Calculating the Shelf Life of Foods
Information Booklet for the Food Industry

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A Guide t o Calculat ing t he S hel f L i fe of F oods

Foreword
The New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) and Health Protection Officers regularly deal with enquiries on the shelf life and date marks on foods. This Guide to Calculating the Shelf Life of Foods contains background information on the factors that influence shelf life and a procedure to assist you to calculate the shelf life of foods. Although the shelf life and date mark requirements are detailed in legislation, the guide provides assistance to meet these requirements and should be read in conjunction with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Traditional sectors of the food industry have gained valuable experience in calculating the shelf life of perishable foods but with changes in legislation and the expanding range of ready-to-eat, short shelf life foods there are increasing numbers of foods requiring date markings and specific storage conditions. The increased availability of ready-to-eat foods with extended refrigerated shelf lives has resulted in the need for the food industry to employ measures to minimise the potential for microorganisms such as Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium botulinum to be present in foods in numbers that result in a hazard to health. This updated guide contains sections on points that should be considered when determining the shelf life of foods that are capable of supporting growth of these organisms. Calculating a realistic shelf life and date mark for food helps ensure the safety and quality of food sold

Who is this Guide intended for?
This guide was written to assist anyone who is providing information on the shelf life of food. It provides relevant background information on shelf life and outlines several approaches that can be used to determine it.

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A Gu i d e t o C a l cu l a t i n g t h e She lf Lif e of Foods

Contents
What is shelf life? Is the shelf life of food related to food safety? What are the regulations relating to shelf life? Who is responsible for calculating a shelf life? Who influences the shelf life? Factors influencing the shelf life of a product What is a shelf life study? Step by step determination of shelf life by the direct method What are indirect methods? What is challenge testing? Appendix 1: Guidelines for microbiological examination of ready-to-eat foods Appendix 2: Determination of shelf life of foods capable of supporting Listeria monocytogenes Appendix 3: Extended shelf life foods and Clostridium botulinum Appendix 4: Contacts Appendix 5: Publications Appendix 6: Further reading 4 4 4 5 6 7 8 9

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A Guide t o Calculat ing t he S hel f L i fe of F oods

What is shelf life?
Shelf life is a guide for the consumer of the period of time that food can be kept before it starts to deteriorate, provided any stated storage conditions have been followed. The shelf life of a product begins from the time the food is prepared or manufactured. Its length is dependent on many factors including the types of ingredients, manufacturing process, type of packaging and how the food is stored. It is indicated by labelling the product with a date mark.

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