Shelf life Studies – Nutrient Degradation and Best By Dates
Shelflife studies are frequently performed to determine a ‘Best By’ date to ensure quality. They are also performed to establish the accuracy of the nutrient quantities declared on the nutrition facts panel.
According to the FDA, there are two nutrient classes: Class I and II. Class I nutrients include vitamins, minerals, protein, dietary fiber or potassium added to fortified or fabricated foods. These nutrients must be present at 100% or more of the value declared on the label for the duration of a product’s shelf life. Class II nutrients include vitamins, minerals, protein, total carbohydrates, dietary fiber, other carbohydrates, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat or potassium that occur naturally in a food product. Class II nutrients must be present at 80% or more of the value declared on the label. Other factors in your study should be microbial spoilage as well as off flavors.
Shelflife studies are completed in real-time or can be accelerated. In an accelerated study, the product is held at a higher temperature to increase the rate of degradation and spoilage microbial growth. Recommended storage conditions are 25°C ± 1°C (60% Relative Humidity ± 5% Relative Humidity) and 40°C ± 1°C (75% Relative Humidity ± 5% Relative Humidity). Most commonly, beverages, food, and pet food products are held in increments of 10°C from the normal temperature, for example, 25ºC, 35ºC, 45ºC. It is assumed that with every 10°C rise in temperature, the study will be completed in half the time. The results of the study will aid in determining your ‘Best-By’ date as well as any nutrient degradation.
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