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What are the regulations for shelf life of frozen products?


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#1 h@select

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 02:01 PM

What are the regulations for shelf life of frozen products? Besides the use by and best by dates, and the presence of the month, day and year of expiration, what must the actual shelf life be for frozen sandwiches? Wouldn't that be up to the customer or the supplier?



#2 esquef

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:34 PM

What are the regulations for shelf life of frozen products? Besides the use by and best by dates, and the presence of the month, day and year of expiration, what must the actual shelf life be for frozen sandwiches? Wouldn't that be up to the customer or the supplier?




From a SQF point of view I believe that shelf life is the responsibility of the developer of the product. If the frozen product(s) were developed at your company, then R&D (if you have a R&D department) would typically determine shelf life. This is covered in 4.3.1.3 (Shelf Life Trials) in Version 6 and 2.3.1.3 in Version 8 (the two versions are the same).

Also, 4.3.1.3 (V6) is only applicable for Level 3 while 2.3.1.3 (V7) is applicable for both Levels 2 and 3.

Hope that helps.

#3 shea quay

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 12:00 AM

I used to work for a company who manufactured and supplied frozen pre-cooked meat products for a sandwich company. We gave our product 12 months shelf life, but specified on our product specification that our validated shelf life could not be used as part of the sandwich manufacturer's validation as we had no information on the interaction between our product and the other raw ingredients in the final manufacturer's product. This absolved us of any legal responsibility with regards shelf life determination of the final product. If someone gets sick from, say, a ham and coleslaw sandwich, they will immediately blame the meat rather that the cabbage used to manufacture the coleslaw that was fertilised with "organic" sheep manure!



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#4 KTD

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:36 PM

BRC also requires scientific development of s/l data.

In the US, there are no USDA regulations, you just have to be able to support whatever you choose to put on the package...not sure about FDA products.

Couple issues here are: Who's footing the bill & What's the contract say? Most often, the responsibility & cost will go to the supplier, as it is 'their' product produced under 'their' FSQA system - no matter what brand name is on the package. If the customer has the s/l testing conducted, there may not be any obligation to provide said data to the supplier, so the next time the question comes up for the supplier, it's back to square one...



#5 Charles.C

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 04:19 AM

Dear All,

Not quite sure if the OP is asking how to scientifically support any stated shelf lives or what determines the nominated labelled values. IMEX (non-US), the latter is a mixture of generalised product category tradition, legislation, customer and manufacturing hypothesis (guesswork). I hv found some of the commonly utilised figures wildly optimistic when subsequent temperature control post-shipment has been faulty, eg frozen product dehydrated to a uniform whiteness. And also sometimes when (probably) not faulty, eg complaints. :smile:

There are various threads here discussing (some with examples) on how to establish shelf lives. The methods typically require selection of risk prioritised quality criteria (eg microbiological safety / organoleptic quality) for assessment and vary from short time (eg accelerated) to long time procedures. Not exactly a simple technical area IMO, books exist on this topic.

Rgds / Charles.C

PS there is a thread here with detailed theory / attachments for chilled sandwiches but frozen is another matter.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C





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