The goal of Challenge Tests is to determine product secondary shelf life in front of an opportunist microorganism contamination.
Challenge Test was first defined in the pharmaceutical sector, and it is a decisive factor for product commercialization.
Years later, ANSES (Agence Nationale de Sécurite Sanitaire de l’alimentation, environnement et du travail) created a guide for standardizing the Program in the Food sector.
Currently, the European Union has accepted the use of this Test for monitoring the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in “ready to eat” products.
PREMIUMLAB has adapted the Challenge Test to Food products. The main objective is to determine intrinsic and extrinsic contamination risks in “ready to eat” and Divisible food products, and as a result, establishing the appropriate commercialization and consumption periods.
By carrying out Challenge Tests we obtain relevant information on the evolution of a potential microbiological contamination in marketed products, therefore preventing the occurrence Food safety issues and alerts.
CHALLENGE TEST PREMIUMLAB: A SAFE METHODOLOGY FOR “READY TO EAT” AND DIVISIBLE FOOD PRODUCTS
PREMIUMLAB has adapted the Challenge Test methodology to Food sector, to be used in “Ready to Eat” products, in Divisible food products, which are products that are not entirely consumed the same day of opening and can be kept for certain period of time, or any other product of interest. We use four indicators to determine microorganism transmission:
By means of these microorganism indicators, we select typified strains in order to minimize variables and check the matrix effect.
Through these variables we can determine whether the contamination is originated by intrinsic factors, that is, microorganisms developed in the food matrix itself, or by extrinsic factors such as handling or environment conditions. We finally develop a microbiological standardized process in which the evolution of microbiological contamination is monitored at 0, 14 and 28 days
MANDATORY AND VERY RELEVANT FOR BUSINESS IMAGE AND DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS
The purpose of shelf life tests is to establish expiration date and best-before date in order to minimize any risk of food alert.
This sort of tests are required by IFS and BRC standards, and compliant with current legislation.
Performing a well-verified shelf-life study is relevant for brand image and it becomes strategic for product distribution, as it will determine the distribution channels and the maximum storage time before obsolescence.
Not performing shelf life studies might have adverse effects, as it is a legal requirement to indicate the expiration date/best-before-date for the sake of public health and, and not respecting this will have a negative impact on the product and company image.
ORGANOLEPTIC, MICROBIOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL-CHEMICAL SCOPE RESULTS
Our (?) shelf-life studies determine the length of time a food maintains its qualities and when it can develop safety problems (expiration date or best-before date). For this, the evolution of the organoleptic, microbiological and physical-chemical properties are monitored for a period of time, determining when and how the initial properties are altered.
Organoleptic treats are measured by taste, flavor, texture and color. Microbiological characteristics are measured by indicative pathogenic microorganisms such al Listeria or Salmonella. Physical-chemical parameters such as fat oxidation, vitamin and mineral content, amongst others, are also tested.
REAL-TIME OR ACCELERATED MODELS
In order to prevent shelf-life studies to extend or delay the launching of a product, PREMIUMLAB SL can perform both Real-time studies, in which the evolution of food under standardized temperature and humidity conditions is monitored for a certain length time, and accelerated models, wherein by means of simulations and mathematical models we can reproduce the environmental conditions in an accelerated way, obtaining faster and equally reliable results.
We will evaluate your product and the results obtained and will prepare a report, mandatory before product launching, which will give to both the producer and the client, the confidence for marketing and consuming the product.