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Section 2.3.1 - Tea Shelf Life


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#1 ana_baron

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 08:42 PM

Hola everyone,

 

I am working on section 2.3.1 Product Development and Realization for Module 2 Level 2 - SQF Standard. The company I work for does not create products but blends together existing products/ ingredients of Camellia Sinensis. The facility is a tea blending and packaging process. I have been debating, and trying to do my own research, but I would like to know if dry tea has a shelf life. From my research I was able to find that opinions vary but no estimations are less than 6 months and some are as long as 2 years. I know everything depends on how it is storage to preserve it, but I would like to know if there is any way I can validate it. I do know that as an internal practice, if tea is in storage for more than 3 years, it is  retested for microbiological levels results.

 

Please feel free to share your thoughts. 

 

Thank you in advance,

AB 



#2 Snookie

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 09:27 PM

I don't know the answer to your questions and hopefully someone will answer shortly, however I can   :welcome:  you to the forum. 


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#3 xylough

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Posted 09 March 2015 - 09:49 PM

When I was food safety manager for a coffee roaster/tea blender, I sought out the same information you are asking from my suppliers of tea. The answer I was consistently given was 5 years for Camellia sinesis green, white, oolong and black tea, not to include tisanes, herbs or teas with flavors added.  Really, it is a quality question, not a food safety question. We would perform documented 3 person blind panel tastings on an annual basis. The same kind of "tastings" were performed before we would purchase a LOT of tea, upon arrival to make sure the profile matched what we purchased and then anually to make sure storage had not diminished the organoleptic characteristics of the tea. Like any food, tea has to be stored at optimal conditions to achieve maximal shelf life.

Tea is quite susceptable to take on odors, e.g., you would never mop the floor of the tea storage area with pinesol or permit people to wear fragraces in proximity to tea. Perform organoleptic odor testing on the packaging and containers you choose for tea storage. Cover and protect tea with diligence. Document your tastings of the tea both on records and on the storage container. Keeping the tea cool and dry is important. The humidity of the tea storage room should be monitored and use a dehumidifyer if indicated. Plastic bags with adhesive stickers can and do migrate the adhesive odor to the tea. Hope this helps.



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#4 FoodSafety_101

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 12:23 AM

I would recommend a supplier guarantee, this is a product your company is purchasing so all the relative information should be attached on a supplier guarantee ( i.e shelf life etc.) I wouldn't want to make a guess unless you have some sound science behind it. Especially if you are planning to get SQF certified.



#5 ana_baron

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 04:21 PM

Thanks everybody for sharing!

 

It really helped.

 

Hope you all have a great day!! 



#6 fgjuadi

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Posted 10 March 2015 - 05:54 PM

Just a side note - SQF lvl 3 does not cover quality issues, only food safety, so if you have a supplier recommendation on the shelf life on file and you follow that recommendation, you should be okay.

 

I meant to add that even if the flavor is gone and there's a huge dip in quality, that's okay for lvl 2.  It only matters for lvl 3


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