Shelf life

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This pack of diced pork says 'display until' 7 May and 'use by' 8 May

Package testing: Heat sealing film for evaluation of shelf life of lettuce Shelf life is the length of time that food, drink, medicine and other perishable items are given before they are considered unsuitable for sale or consumption. In some regions, a best before, use by or freshness date is required on packaged perishable foods. Shelf life is the recommendation of time that products can be stored, during which the defined quality of a specified proportion of the goods remains acceptable under expected (or specified) conditions of distribution, storage and display.[1]

This is important.3 Processing 8 See also 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External links [edit] Shelf life Shelf life is different from expiration date. the former relates to food quality.Most shelf life labels or listed expiration dates are used as guidelines based on normal handling of products. and a product is not always dangerous nor ineffective after the expiration date. meaning that most shoppers will pick them up first and so getting them out of the store.[2] Contents [hide] y y y y y y y y y y y 1 Shelf life 2 Temperature control 3 Parallel names o 3. which involves moving products with the earliest sell by date to the front of the shelf. transmission of gases (including humidity).[3] . Use prior to the expiration date does not necessarily guarantee the safety of a food or drug.1 Best before o 3. the latter to food safety.2 Use by o 3. as some stores can be fined for selling out of date products.4 Sell by / Display until 4 Mark-downs 5 Issues associated with sell by / use by dates o 5. but quality is no longer guaranteed. A product that has passed its shelf life might still be safe. and most if not all will have to mark such products down as wasted.3 Open dating o 3.2 Beginnings of freshness dating o 7. or moisture content).1 UK government to replace sell by / use by dates? o 5. mechanical stresses. shelf life is maximized by using stock rotation. In most food stores. leading to a loss of profit. and contamination by things such as micro-organisms. a microbiological index. Product quality is often mathematically modelled around a parameter (concentration of a chemical compound.1 Freshness date o 7. Shelf life is most influenced by several factors: exposure to light and heat.2 How to enhance best before / use by dates? 6 US Government Guidelines 7 Beer o 7.

or after inspection/laboratory test/restorative action that an item may remain in the combined wholesale (including manufacture's) and retail storage systems and still be suitable for issue or use by the end user. The total period of time beginning with the date of manufacture. A general term used to quantify the average or standard life expectancy of an item or equipment while in use. Most medications are potent and safe after the expiration date.. restoration. and foods left unused too long will often acquire substantial amounts of bacterial colonies and become dangerous to eat. the amber bottle used for many beers blocks damaging wavelengths of light. or held as bench stock. low moisture vapor transmission rate. Old explosives are thus more dangerous (i.most expired drugs are probably effective. When a shelf-life item is unpacked and introduced to mission requirements. or merely left in storage. placed in preexpended bins. Bacterial contaminants are ubiquitous. test. prescription and over-the-counter. said that with a handful of exceptions . Some degradation factors can be controlled by use of appropriate packaging.For some foods. or disposal action. shelf-life management stops and service life begins. Transparent beer bottles do not.S. installed into intended application. In contrast. The United States Department of Defense (DoD) Shelf-Life Program defines shelf-life as. Shelf-life is not to be confused with service-life (defined as.) extends the shelf life of some foods and pharmaceuticals. liable to be triggered to explode by very small disturbances. a former FDA expiration-date compliance chief. insulin and some liquid antibiotics . A study conducted by the U. Joel Davis. Some companies use induction sealing and vacuum pouches to assist in the extension of the shelf life of their products. Food and Drug Administration covered over 100 drugs.[4] Preservatives and antioxidants may be incorporated into some food and drug products to extend their shelf life. Packaging with barrier materials (e.)[5] [edit] Temperature control Main article: Cold chain Nearly all chemical reactions will occur (at various rates depending on the individual nature of the reaction) at common temperatures. the shelf life is an important factor to health. etc. or date of pack (subsistence only). date of assembly. and terminated by the date by which an item must be used (expiration date) or subjected to inspection. even trivial .notably nitroglycerin. Examples are the breakdown of many chemical explosives into more unstable compounds. For example.[2] The expiration date of pharmaceuticals specifies the date the manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of a drug. However. The results showed that about 90% of them were safe and effective as far as 15 years past their expiration date. A rare exception is a case of Renal tubular acidosis purportedly caused by expired tetracycline.g. date of cure (for elastomeric and rubber products only). the use-by dates become irrelevant. if milk already has harmful bacteria.e. pasteurized milk can remain fresh for five days after its sell-by date if it is refrigerated properly. leading to food poisoning. For example. Nitroglycerine is notorious. the shelf life itself is not an accurate indicator to the food safety.

Rubber products also degrade as sulphur bonds induced during vulcanization revert. this is .jiggling) than more recently manufactured explosives.