Fridge banner From February 2020

Consumers’ fridges and setting a shelf-life

Establishing an accurate shelf-life is key to a product’s success. It ensures a product maintains key sensory, chemical and microbiological characteristics.

This may be a bigger challenge than previously thought as results from our member-funded research project ‘Microbiological shelf-life testing’ suggest consumers’ fridges run at higher temperatures than expected. Microbiologist Linda Everis (who is leading the project) commented that the assumptions we make about domestic fridges “may need a rethink”. Products spend a large portion of their life with the consumer so building a solid understanding of what temperatures they may be exposed to during this time is crucial when establishing an accurate shelf-life.

We have issued new shelf-life guidance based on the research. The document - Evaluation of microbiological shelf-life of foods (second edition) 2019 - has been extended beyond chilled foods to ambient stored foods such as sauces and pickles. The guideline covers all aspects of shelf-life, including best-before and use-by dates.

Contact: Linda Everis
+44(0)1386 842063

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