Do's and don'ts

Summary flowchart for setting the shelf-life of a food

Do's and don'ts


  • Make use of technical expertise
  • Allow for abuse that may occur when the product is out of your control
  • Routinely schedule end of shelf life safety and quality testing
  • Ensure that shelf-life trials are carried out using the same ingredients as are to be used in the production plant, and using the same factory equipment and procedures in the manufacturing environment as will be used during standard production


  • Assume you can copy the shelf-life assigned to a similar product
  • Extend the life of the original ingredient(s) unless you have altered them in some way that enables the extension e.g. cooking and have validated that it has been effective
  • Change an ingredient without reviewing its effect on the finished product's shelf life
  • Assume the food will be kept in perfect conditions after it has left your control
  • Rely solely on shelf-life prediction software

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Last reviewed: 05 Jun 2018