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Shelf-Life Stability Testing

Every product has to defy the test of time - we help you in determining the correct expiration date for your product.

Shelf-Life Stability Testing with Integrated Labs

Quickly and effectively determine the longevity of your finished food product.
Understanding Shelf-Life Testing:

Shelf-life stability testing (analysis), along with environmental testing and microbiology testing, is part of recommended food and supplement safety testing.

Shelf-life testing is a critical process in the food & beverage, supplement, and pharmaceutical industry that is aimed at ensuring the safety, quality, and longevity of products throughout their storage and distribution. This testing involves subjecting food samples to various environmental conditions, including temperature, humidity, and light exposure, to simulate real-world storage conditions. 

By monitoring factors such as microbial growth, chemical degradation, texture changes, and sensory attributes (appearance, smell, taste) over time, you can determine the product’s shelf life and establish appropriate storage recommendations for consumers.

The Importance of Shelf-Life Testing:

Shelf-life stability testing is vitally important for every food and supplement creator/manufacturer as it determines the expiration or best-by date of the product.  With accurate dates for your food products, you can ensure quality and safety for your customers and ensure that your products stay stable and in the best conditions when consumed.

Additionally, shelf-life testing helps identify potential issues such as spoilage and rancidity, allowing manufacturers to optimize formulations, packaging materials, and storage practices to extend the product’s lifespan while maintaining quality and safety. 

Regulatory agencies also often require food manufacturers to conduct shelf-life testing to ensure compliance with safety standards and labeling regulations. Ultimately, shelf-life testing plays a crucial role in ensuring that consumers receive safe, high-quality food products that meet their expectations for freshness and taste.

How We Conduct Our Shelf-Life Testing:

At Integrated Labs, we utilize “Organoleptic Testing” to assess the qualities of a product based on human perception, particularly the senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. This testing technique is widely employed in industries such as food and beverages, supplements, pharmaceuticals, and consumer goods to ensure product quality, consistency, and consumer satisfaction.

In organoleptic testing, trained panelists evaluate products using their senses to detect attributes such as appearance, color, texture, and aroma.  These sensory attributes play a crucial role in shaping consumers’ perceptions of products and can influence their purchasing decisions.

Typical Shelf-Life Testing Time Frames:

The life plan you decide to go with will be dependent on the shelf-life the manufacturer anticipates.  We offer plans as low as 3 months, and up to 3 years and beyond.  Dependent upon how long you decide to test for, will determine how often we test.  Typically, we will test 4-6 times throughout the time frame you chose, providing you the results of each test.  

Shelf-Life Stability Tests Available:

At each time point, the following tests can be conducted:

How To Start Your Shelf-Life Stability Testing:

Working with Integrated Labs is as easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Contact us: Contact us via the form on our Contact Us page and inquire about the stability testing at the Integrated Labs. Fill in all the required information to give us as much information as possible.
  2. We work with you: Once the lab receives the information, they will contact you for further information if needed or propose different options/plans for stability testing based on your product and the risk assessment conducted at your end.
  3. We start the Stability Testing: Once the plan is finalized, you can ship us the samples and we will test it at mutually agreed testing timepoints. The Lab will test your product at the different test points and will release the results as soon as they are available in the form of a Certificate of Analysis.

Adding Accelerated Stability Testing:

We also offer accelerated stability testing in addition to the real-time stability testing. In accelerated study, we store the products at elevated temperatures and humidity levels and simulate conditions such that 1 week in accelerated stability is approximately equal to 1 month in real time stability. 

Manufacturers who do not want to wait too long for their product to hit market shelves will usually opt for both the accelerated option in addition to the real-time stability. Real-time study will give you the most accurate results for your product, while accelerated helps you determine the temporary shelf-life of your product in a shorter time while real-time study finishes.  Accelerated Stability Testing does have additional fees, so please be sure to mention if you are interested in this testing method.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Shelf-Life Stability Testing for?
Anyone who sells food or supplement products and wants to determine the expiration date of their product!
Does integrated offer shelf-life testing for refrigerated and frozen products?
Yes! We can accommodate your refrigerated and/or frozen products for shelf-life testing.
Is my product safe to consume during and after reaching its expected shelf-life?
We address this by testing for microorganisms in the food that grow over the period of time. These microorganisms include but are not limited to Total Plate count (Aerobic), Yeast & Mold, E. Coli, Coliforms, Staphylococcus Aureus, and Salmonella.
How long does the entire process take?
The process depends on the expected shelf life of the product. Real-time stability usually takes the longest as it encompasses real-time data and provides the most accurate shelf-life. Accelerated stability takes almost half the time than real-time stability and simulates what a product may appear at the end of the expected shelf-life. What types of products can you test?
Is laboratory testing necessary to determine my product’s shelf life?
Lab testing is the only method to determine an accurate shelf life for a food product. Lab testing can be expensive and time-consuming; however, there is no way around it. If a food manufacturer, big or small, needs to determine an accurate best-by date for their product, then testing in a lab must be done.
How can I extend my product’s shelf life?
There are multiple ways to extend a Product’s shelf life. The simplest way is to ensure your product is packaged really well so that it is protected from moisture, humidity, and temperature from the surrounding environment. Another way is to reduce water activity in your product as higher water activity is responsible for the growth of microorganisms in the food products.
Can I just do Accelerated Stability Testing?
Unfortunately no. You'll still need the "Real Time" Stability Testing for the most accurate results. Manufacturers who do not want to wait too long for their product to hit market shelves opt for accelerated option in addition to the real-time stability. Real-time study gives you the most accurate results for your product, while accelerated helps you determine the temporary shelf-life of your product in quick time while real-time study finishes.
Do I have to perform all the tests available?
No you don't. We understand that some customers may want only micro testing, while others may only want to test for pH (acidity) and water activity, and others do want it all! Step #2 is used to determine exactly what tests you need.

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