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Shelf Life Testing


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#1 Teem

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 01:30 AM

I'm working on a new drink product and now ready for Shelf life testing and would appreciate guidance with what to test for and frequency from those experienced in this sector I have done RTE testing in the past but this is the first time working with drinks and not sure if I have to test for the same set of MOs as food? Product is - plastic bottled herbal teas sweetened with 1 or more of the ff - honey, pasteurised fruit juices, or sweetener. Thank you :)



#2 Evans X.

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 01:37 PM

Greetings Teem,

 

Assuming, from your phrasing, that the question is intended for shelf-life test then you should run the typical tests for TVC (or APC or ACC depends which term you use), Enterobacteriaceae and Yeasts/Molds.

 

Hope it helps!



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#3 Scampi

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 02:10 PM

If you want to use your shelf life testing with a regulatory body, you may want to use an accredited lab to run the test


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#4 Teem

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 08:59 PM

Thank you Scampi, Yes I'm using a UKAS accredited lab. 

 

Greetings Teem,

 

Assuming, from your phrasing, that the question is intended for shelf-life test then you should run the typical tests for TVC (or APC or ACC depends which term you use), Enterobacteriaceae and Yeasts/Molds. 

 

Hope it helps!

Thanks Evans  - You reckon just these 3 (TVC, Enterobacteriaceae and Yeasts/Molds) would suffice and no more? Do you think E Coli, Listeria and bacillus, salmonella and Staph are unnecessary for drink?  I just don't want to order unnecessary tests as I'm on a budget yet don't want to compromise on safety. Looking forward to your response and others'



#5 Evans X.

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Posted 10 March 2021 - 08:55 AM

Yes, these are the three major indicators of a product reaching it's end of shelf-life, as they are the easiest to grow, most common to be found and they are "groups" of m/o. There is no point in searching for pathogens (eg Listeria, Salmonella etc) cause if you found some then you would have other problems to worry about than product shelf-life  :excl: . Pathogens are best to be tested for in your regular self-control analysis that you run for your management system.

To put it simply, shelf-life is being tested on a product that is safe to consume on day one, having undergone all the manufacturing processes, and you want to test out how long it can stay this way afterwards!

However, and sorry for the omission, I didn't mention previously that all this should be done in conjunction with the organoleptic analysis of your product. Meaning that it can be safe for a period of time but its organoleptic characteristics may show signs of non-acceptable quality (not safety) like taste, color etc.

Anyway the lab can assist you further on this, but my opinion is ask for the above mentioned m/o parameters alongside the organoleptic analysis. TVC and Y-M are more related to the product, while Ent/ceae is also related to the general hygiene of your processes.



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#6 pHruit

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Posted 10 March 2021 - 05:30 PM

One other thing to keep in mind - if you're packing these as ambient-stable products, your shelf life is likely to be limited by organoleptic durability rather than microbiological stability, so you may need to combine some taste-testing etc as part of your assessment.



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#7 Charles.C

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Posted 10 March 2021 - 10:53 PM

And one other thing - it just may depend on where you are.

 

As implied previous post, SL theory 101 requires you to initially determine whether shelf life is to be based on safety or non-safety parameters. Likely to follow Post 6.

 

Hopefully you have a Product Specification, this assists risk evaluation/criteria  for above and is (overall) usually minimally required to be verified as compliant at end of shelf life.

 

It's often easier to outsource the "job'.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#8 Teem

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Posted 12 March 2021 - 12:05 AM

Thank you so much everyone for the guidance. Much appreciated! I will go by organoleptic life. Thanks and now you mention it, might as well tweak formula if necessary and go ambient. I was thinking more refrigerated life initially.






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