Shelf life and stabilty testing

During the storage of foodstuffs may occur some changes that affect the quality of the food, consumer acceptance, and even the human health. All foods have a shelf-life, i.e. the period of time during which the quality indicators (physico-chemical and microbiological) do not exceed the established criteria set by the applicable regulations, the food maintains its nutritional value and the sensory changes do not cause a loss of acceptability. General food safety requirements, as defined in Regulation (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2002, state that food shall not be placed on the market if it is unsafe, injurious to health or is not suitable for human consumption. Shelf life testing allows to evaluate the range and direction of changes in products over time.

Microbiological challenge testing is designed to provide behavioural information on inoculated microorganisms intentionally introduced into food products and is one of the methods for shelf life determination. This testing method can be introduced to raw materials during the manufacturing process, intermediate products, or final food product according to the risk assessment.

The concentration and the growth rate of the inoculated microorganism simulates product’s intended shelf life and provides the professional guarantee for the product safety throughout the whole shelf life of the product. J.S. Hamilton Poland sp. z o.o. laboratory provides the microbiological challenge testing to evaluate the growth potential (δ). The purpose of the study is to ensure that ready-to-eat food meets the safety complying criteria specified for the selected microorganism throughout their shelf life.

Challenge testing is carried out according to:

  • The EURL LM TECHNICAL GUIDANCE DOCUMENT for conducting shelf-life studies on Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods Version 3 – 6 June 2014 – Amendment 1 of 21 February 2019
  • PN-EN ISO 20976-1: 2019-05 Microbiology of the food chain – Requirements and guidelines for conducting challenge tests of food and animal feed products.

Microbiological challenge testing is relevant for food manufacturers producing ready-to-eat products. The test not only measures the growth potential (δ) of Listeria monocytogenes, but also the microflora of the product and its changes, and the changes in the physico-chemical properties of the product (pH, water activity) during shelf-life.

Contact our experts to create a shelf-life testing programme that suits your product!

Testing in accelerated conditions i.e. accelerated ageing tests, which are carried out under the influence of selected external factors, most often elevated temperature and/or humidity or UV irradiation. Accelerated shelf life testing enables to quickly estimate the product’s durability, but due to simulated conditions it is necessary to confirm the results under standard conditions in order to verify the safety and quality of the products at the end of the real shelf life. Conducting of the accelerated shelf life testing to determine durability is not easy. All stages – project development, analysis and final result summaries require direct cooperation between the laboratory and the producer. Accelerated shelf-life testing is only suitable for products that can be stored at room temperature and have a shelf-life of at least 1 year.
Contact our experts to create a shelf-life testing programme that suits your product!

Product shelf life testing is testing during which products are stored for a specified shelf life according to specifications or standards (temperature, relative humidity, lighting). J.S. Hamilton Baltic offers to its customers food product storage at room temperature (23±2 °C), refrigerator temperatures (2±2 °C and 4±2 °C), and freezer temperatures (-18±2 °C). Other storage temperatures can also be arranged.

Contact our experts to create a shelf-life testing programme that suits your product!

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Contact information

J.S. Hamilton Baltic SIA

Mazā Rencēnu Street 12 Riga, LV-1073, LATVIA

+371 66103389
+371 27087073


Working time:
Mo. Tu. We. Th. Fr. 8:30 – 17:00
On Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays – delivery of samples by prior arrangement

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