Within the food sector, there is a growing concern to ensure that food will not deteriorate throughout its shelf life, which is essential to avoid economic losses and maintain a good brand image.
The shelf life of a food can be defined as the time from the production/packaging of the product until it becomes unacceptable under certain environmental conditions. The end of a food’s shelf life may be due to the fact that its consumption poses a risk to the health of the consumer or that its sensory characteristics have deteriorated to such an extent that the food is rejected by the consumer. Of the possible causes of nutritional disorders, the growth of micro-organisms and their metabolism is by far the most important.
In addition, food businesses involved in food processing and preparation have been facing the challenge of developing and marketing new foods that are well received by consumers for several years. In this sense, there is a growing demand for foods with certain characteristics, in particular “free” or “low” foods in salt, fat, etc. and foods that consumers perceive as “more natural” (foods without certain preservatives, minimally processed foods, etc.). At the same time, demand is growing for ready-to-eat products (finished and semi-finished products) and for long-life foods. For all these reasons, we have seen the development of new food processing systems and new preservation technologies in recent years.
It must also be taken into account that the demands on the supplier-customer chain are growing in the implementation of quality standards (IFS, BRC, etc.). In many cases the implementation of these quality standards is an indispensable prerequisite for the placing of food on the national and international market. Both the IFS and the BRC standards require the determination of the useful life of food by commercial life tests on the basis of documented protocols.
For all this, L.A.B. | Laboratorio Analítico Bioclínico (Location: Huelva) provides its customers consulting and analysis services of microbial alterations and studies on the useful life of food.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact L.A.B.