Shelf Life And Its Secrets
Maybe you noticed how technical terms are redundant in our daily life. Sometimes we can understand them, other times they puzzle us because we do not comprehend their meanings. Shelf life is not an exception.
The first step is the literal meaning: life on a shelf. So why don’t we start by trying to define the general context that uses these words?
What is it the shelf life?
The term shelf life indicates the period that a certain kind of food can spend on a store or supermarket shelf before to turn not edible, and so not marketable. During this time, from the initial packaging, curtly after the production, to the expiry date, the product deteriorates, loses some of its quality and characteristics, but remains edible. Probably you too saw the difference between a ready-to-use salad in a bag a few days after buying it and just before the due date.
Many causes can influence the food quality: the kind of article; le chemical composition; the quantity of water contained; the temperature of the environment where it is stored; the presence or not of light and humidity; the treatment had; the transport and the kind of package. For example, using Lorapack’s patented machines, which use modified atmosphere technology, is a valid method to increase the shelf life of a product.
And how can we understand when an article reaches the end of its shelf life? The first, who has to answer this question, is the producer: it is their job to verify how long and within how much time you can eat the product. They can also use laboratory tests to have the most precise possible data.
How can we recognise the end of the shelf life? There are two phrases, that we can find on the bag or the label:
- Use-by-date: identifies the expiry date, the day within you have to eat that particular kind of food, else it becomes harmful.
- Best use before: specifies the date of minimum durability, the alarm sing that notified us of the necessity to eat the product as soon as possible, a few days after the printed date too. More time will pass from the indicated date, more the articles deteriorates and loses its qualities.
So, now we have understood the difference. Not only the term shelf life has a clearer meaning, but we have also understood the difference between expiry date and date of minimum durability!