The Environment Laboratories Section of the Dubai Central Laboratory adopted a mechanism to design models for the study on the testing of the validity period of different food products.
This would depend on the type of components of the basic materials of the product, the methods of processing, the packaging and storage, as well as the validity period of the product proposed by the food establishment.
Amin Ahmed Amin, Director of the Dubai Central Laboratory Department, said that the study on the validity period of various food products was targeted at maintaining or extending the shelf life of food products in the market, in response to “the desire of customers”.
Various effects on shelf life
Meanwhile, Maha Al Hajiri, Head of the Food and Environment Laboratories Section, said that the study would measure the changes in the physical and chemical properties of the foodstuff that occur as a result of the product's impact on the quality factors of the stages of processing, packaging, storage and distribution.
She said that this is done by monitoring the extent of change in the total bacterial content of the food in microbiological tests using the best traditional and advanced technologies approved according to the ISO 17025 laboratory quality system.
Water activity critical
Furthermore, Al Hajiri said water activity (Aw) is one of the most important tests in determining the design of the validity period and the stability of food, against factors such as damage and corruption.
“It is also the main factor for the growth and proliferation of bacteria, and some chemical factors that affect the speed of corruption of food products such as enzymatic colour change, oxidation, breaking vitamins, protein change, starch degradation and transformation into gelatin,” said Al Hajiri.
“The lower the water content in the food product, the longer the shelf life is. The shelf life is defined as the period in which the food remains valid and preserves acceptable quality until consumption.”