The Shelf Life represents as UNI 10534-2005 mentions, the period of time that corresponds, under certain storage conditions, to a tolerable decrease in the quality of the food.
The Shelf Life tests have the aim of simulating the commercial life of the product and is a way to test the durability of the food under certain storage conditions. In most cases the following types of tests are carried out:
- Laboratory microbiological analysis, to evaluate the presence and quantity of pathogenic microorganisms in food;
- Chemical-physical parameters to evaluate water activity or Ph, consistency, etc…
- Sensory tests- or organoleptic tests – to verify the taste, smell, color and appearance of the food.
Particular attention is paid by the laboratory in the evaluation of the modications of the aromatic profile characterized with the SPME – GC MS technique.
The aromatic profile is fundamental in these investigations, as it allows to investigate the appearance of oxidized degradative notes and the loss of the characteristic fragrances of the fresh food. The laboratory has consolidated esperience, gained in the field of foods, herbs and spices and flavourings, and owns and uses the instrumental library Mass Spectra of Flavors and Fragrances of Natural and Synthetic Compounds which contains more than 3000 spectra relating to substances related to the aromatic profile, characterized also by the retention time.