Continuation of RRL…
2.5 Shelf Life
Shelf life is the time period for which an item remains usable, consumable, or saleable. When food is not consumed within its shelf life, spoilage occurs. The food deterioratesand undesirable changes in itsquality will be evident. There are numerous factors that could affect the shelf life, these may be intrinsic or extrinsic (How to Determine the Shelf Life of Food, 2016). Intrinsic factors concerns the internal state of the food such as its pH and moisture content. Packaging and storage conditions, influenced by temperature, light and air, are extrinsic since they are external factors.
Color and vitamin loss and oxidation of fats are instigated by light exposure. In fruits and vegetables, enzymes are responsible for the ripening process which is manifested through changes in color, texture and color. Air is made up of 21% oxygen (Air Composition, n.d.), exposure to oxygen would result into oxidation which also induces change in color, flavor and nutrient content. Moisture, temperature and air could trigger microbial growth in food. These changes would initiate spoilage later on. Controlling these factors willimprove the shelf life thus delaying spoilage. Fermentation, refrigeration, freezing, smoking and vacuum-packing are some of the methods used nowadays in extending the shelf life of various kinds of food.
2.5.1 Shelf Life Testing
Testing the shelf life requires the products to be stored under expected conditions of storage and distribution for a period of time to determine at what point chemical changes, deterioration or spoilage occurs (How to Determine the Shelf Life of Food, 2016). It has been essential especially in the field of food manufacturing. Manufacturers need to determine the expiration of their products in order to keep the brand in its best quality and assure the safety of the consumers (Food Shelf Life Testing, n.d.). The testing involves several tests that assess different parameters such as Physico-chemical, Microbiological and Sensory Analyses.
The Physico-chemical Analysis tests the pH, percent moisture content, water activity, percent free fatty acid and peroxide value. Microbial growth is tested by means of microbiological analysis which can be done by
Food is perishable by nature ().