Simplified guidance has been developed to help manufacturers assess their products' shelf-life.
It outlines procedures that test for pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods, Clostridium botulinum in chilled, modified atmosphere packaged foods, and specific spoilage organisms, such as yeasts and moulds, in acidic products.
According to Dr Gail Betts, manager of Campden BRI's Microbiological Spoilage Group and author of the guidance: "The Campden BRI method of challenge testing covers all potential microorganisms." It simplifies the process and keeps costs down, she added.
While challenge testing can simulate what can happen to a contaminated product, said Betts, it should not undertaken for the sake of it. Microbial growth prediction models can be used as a screening service and if these show that spoilage may occur, challenge testing can then be carried out.
l Food Manufacture has organised an 'Emerging food safety issues' conference in London on October 5. Details at: www.foodanddrinkevents.com.