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