State of Florida Department of Health Certified at both laboratory locations.
SHELF LIFE TESTING
Shelf life testing is performed to test the bacterial integrity of a finished product. Demonstrating the absence of pathogenic bacteria in the product is the safest way of avoiding consumer cases regarding food borne illness. The finished report is an excellent sales tool as it indicates that the product is shelf stable and free of pathogenic bacteria.
Refrigerated Shelf Life Study:
An initial sample is tested for the following Microbiological Series when the samples are received. After being tested, the sample is returned to the Chemistry laboratory and the pH is measured. The remaining three samples are placed under refrigeration at 40 Degrees Fahrenheit until the time they are to be tested. The time points for the testing in a refrigerated study are determined by the nature of the product. The following tests will be performed according to the AOAC methods cited below.
Total Aerobic Count (Aerobic Plate Count): FDA Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM), 8th Edition, Chapter 3, 1998.
Coliform Count & E.coli: AOAC, 17th Edition Chapter 17, Section 966.23 – 966.24. FDA Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM), 8th Edition, Chapter 4, 1998.
Staphylococcus aureus: AOAC, 17th Edition Chapter 17, Section 975.55 & 987.09. FDA Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM), 8th Edition, Chapter 12, 1998
Total Molds and Yeast (Aerobic Plate Count) FDA Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM), 8th Edition, Chapter 18, 1998.
Salmonella sp.: AOAC, 17th Edition, Chapter 17, Section 967.25 – 967.27, 999.09, 978.24 and 989.13, 995.20
Time Points to be examined:
A projected Shelf Life should include a reasonable time for production, Distribution,Saleand Consumption. Also, the Shelf Life should be established beyond the actual expiry date to insure that an out of date product is safe beyond the expiry date marked. A projected expiry date of fourteen (14) days should have a final time point at 18 to 21 days. The data will then provide a margin of documented Product Safety. Time Points would be Initial, Day 7, Day 14 and Day 21. If products need to have preservatives in order to meet these requirements, the laboratory will assist in finding a supplier of Food Grade Preservatives and will guide in the implementation of these into the product in co-ordination with the supplier to insure accuracy and effectiveness.
The general approach to avoiding consumer cases regarding food borne illness is to run a Microbiological Series of tests consisting of the following:
Total Plate Count - All of the Aerobic Bacteria present. This test gives a general view as
to the Microbiological condition of the sample.
Coliforms - Coliform bacteria are indications of general sanitation status of
E. coli - E. coli is a human fecal marker and should not be present. May represent a pathogen.
Staph. aureus - Staphylococcus aureus is a common cause of food poisoning derived from product handling.
Mold /Yeast - Can be spoilage organisms and can produce aflatoxins. Some individuals have allergic reactions to both mold and yeast.
Salmonella - Human Pathogen – no tolerance
Listeria sp. - Human Pathogen – Listeria monocytogenes – no tolerance.
Upon the completion of the study a report is issued containing the four sets of test results indicating the testing time points. The results will indicate the stability of the product and the report will contain the following statement:
Based upon the Microbiological results of the sample listed above and insofar as the analyses performed were able to assay for the presence or absence of specific pathogens, the product represented by the sample analyzed would appear to be wholesome and fit for human consumption for a projected 1year (2 years)
Refrigerated Shelf Life Testing, which is performed in real time, is also available.
*Requires five (5) finished product samples to be submitted per product per study.
Kappa Laboratories has been Inspected and previously Recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Microbiology-#0093, Chemistry-#1282); EPA-NELAC Certified by the Florida Dept. of Health, Drinking Water including Microbiology, Pesticides; Environmental Certification as Basic Environmental Laboratory (DOH #E86942); Registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA-#1039389) and is an FDA Accepted Laboratory for Import Testing. Kappa Laboratories is currently a Contract Laboratory to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia; Vessel Sanitation Program. ContractLaboratory,U.S.Coast Guard for Alaskan Vessel Discharge Program.