An extra day of shelf-life could save billions of dollars in wasted food.
A 2014 study discovered that $2.64 billion could be saved annually if food waste could be reduced by giving products an extra day of shelf-life.
The USDA also discovered in a 2010 study that 31% of the food produced annually in the United States was not available for consumption due to low shelf-life.
However, the needed space, team, and resources to conduct microbiological projects and shelf-life testing are often limited.
It’s clear to see from food poisoning statistics that food safety goes beyond routine checks. According to the CDC, one in six Americans (that’s 48 million Americans) falls sick from food-borne diseases every year.
This means that specialized and technical services are needed to meet food safety standards. The team of experts at Food Safety Net Services (FSNS) has the certified laboratories and resources to meet the challenge with a wide selection of services related to food safety including testing, analysis, studies, identification, quality control, and source tracking.
FSNS has the largest network of food and micro testing laboratories in the United States. It has a network of nineteen ISO 17025 laboratories spread throughout the United States, with one in Canada and another in Mexico, making it easy to transport samples and conduct tests efficiently. Contact Us to learn more.
Most Common Types of Technical Services in Food Testing
Unless routine checks are all that are required, there are quite a number of tests, analyses, and studies that should feature in the whole food testing process. The two most common are:
1. Microbiological Projects
Among the testing options offered by FSNS are the Laboratory-Based Challenge Studies. This comprises growth inhibition studies, inactivation studies, and combination studies.
Another important set of testing options are the In-Plant Challenge Studies. Here, inactivation studies are conducted through the use of non-pathogenic surrogate microorganisms to validate chemical dip and spray intervention efficacy, and also to validate thermal treatment conditions.
FSNS also conducts bacterial toxin testing. Tests are conducted for staphylococcal enterotoxins and Bacillus cereus diarrheal enterotoxin.
Other options include proficiency testing programs such as the Microbiological Proficiency Testing Programs and the Chemical Proficiency Testing Programs.
FSNS also offers the IR Biotyper® by Bruker – Microbial Strain Typing for Real-Time Quality Control and Source Tracking. This allows for monitoring of contamination, strain comparison, and analysis of root causes of unwanted elements in food products.
The experienced lab management teams at FSNS are composed of scientists who are trained to answer your technical and service-related questions.
2. Shelf-life Studies
FSNS conducts Cooler and Retail Display Case Refrigerated Storage Studies, Room Temperature Ambient Storage Studies, Organoleptic Evaluation and Chemical Evaluation, and Accelerated Shelf Life (Q10 Model) Storage Studies.
All these look into the factors that reduce shelf-life and look for ways to make food products more durable or have dynamic shelf-lives.
Steps to Starting Microbiological Projects and Shelf-Life Testing
1. Run a Thorough Testing Process
There are limits to which routine checks can be conducted on food products. The FDA easily investigates and raises alerts on food products that might contain harmful substances. This can be very harmful to a brand as it can kill marketing efforts and reduce customer trust.
Several scientific processes like tests and studies are necessary to ensure the safety of food products.
FSNS conducted over 6.6 million tests in 2020 for 3500 satisfied customers. Its team of scientists knows the exact tests to conduct to ensure the safety of each product.
2. Identify Goals
It is necessary to identify clear goals within the testing process, whether that is to increase the shelf-life of products or to see why they’re expiring before the due date. Another important goal might be to conduct bacteria toxin testing or monitor contamination.
Knowing what is needed ahead of time will help the process and might even lead to more questions and discoveries about the product.
3. Work with the Team of Experts
In achieving these goals, it’s important for clients to work closely with the team of experts assigned to the project. They will need to give the team enough room to do their job, but also be involved in the process so that they can ask questions, know what to improve on, and get a firsthand analysis of the samples.
Getting the Technical Services You Need
Our teams are always available to provide expert analyses, testing, and studies. FSNS has everything necessary for comprehensive microbiological projects and shelf-life testing, with ISO 17025 certified laboratories all over the United States, and also in Canada and Mexico.
For more information regarding FSNS Special Projects
Posted in EASeNews, Under the Microscope.