Shelf Life Testing Done In A Certified Lab, To Determine Your Food Products' Expectant Shelf Life

Food Shelf Life Testing Reports

Turnaround depends on the shelf life you are trying to achieve.

If you are selling your food product in a retail environment; then your retailer will more than likely require a shelf life test. At some point, you should strongly consider getting shelf life testing to give your product a valid expiration date.

RL Food Testing Laboratory offers real time microbiological shelf life testing from as short as 5 days up to 1 year – depending on what shelf life expectancy you are trying to achieve.

Shelf life testing includes 6 test points that are measured in equal intervals depending on your ingredients. The following microbes will be tested during your shelf life testing service:

  • pH
  • Water Activity
  • Yeast
  • Aerobic Plate Count
  • Mold
    *We  will recommend having additional microbes tested such as salmonella, E. Coli, listeria and staph aureus, at an additional cost, depending on your ingreidients.

You will receive a report at the end of each testing point. If at any point during the shelf life testing, we will notify you if the bacterial counts greatly increase. Otherwise, we will provide updates at each shelf life testing interval.

You will receive your final report at the end of your shelf life testing service. Our staff microbiologist will write a report summarizing the results. No other labs offer this summary report and it is included as part of your shelf life testing service at no extra charge. The report is written in laymen’s terms to help you understand the laboratory results.

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How It Works

Ordering your Shelf Life Testing is easy. Just follow these 4 easy steps....


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Fill out Lab Information form

Fill out Lab Information form

After we receive your payment, we’ll email you our Lab Product Information Form.

Please fill out the form and include it with your samples. 

Shelf Life Form.

Download instructions:   

Shelf Life Template Instructions.

Ship your Samples and Form

Ship your Samples and Form

You will need to ship six (6)  2 oz samples of finished product to our lab.

Shelf Life Template Instructions.

Fedex or UPS / 1 or 2 day air
No glass containers, please
If refrigerated, pack with cold packs
Include your completed Lab Information Form.

We’ll email your results and explanation.

We’ll email your results and explanation.

You’ll receive a lab report showing your results at the end of each testing point and an explanation provided by our staff Microbiologist.

Turnaround depends on shelf life expectancy you are trying for.

QUESTIONS? If you have questions at any time during the process, just give us a call 7-days-a-week!

What You Get

Shelf Life Testing

Shelf Life Testing

Includes 5 test points. The following microbes will be tested during your shelf life testing service:

1. pH
2. Water Activity
3. Yeast
4. Mold
5. Aerobic Plate Count

Testing Points Reports

Testing Points Reports

At the end of each (5) testing points, we will email you a report summarize the status of your shelf life testing.

Explanation of Results

Explanation of Results

Our staff Microbiologist will provide an explanation of your shelf life testing results, making your lab report easy to understand.

Some of Our Happy Clients:

rockstar energy drink Paradise Chiquita Golden Edibles Keylime Redbrick Pizza Cafe Dr. Oz Show Dirt Road Gourmet

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Do you do accelerated shelf life testing?
No, our lab only conducts real time shelf life testing. If your shelf life is expected to be a year, then you must test for one year.
How can I extend Shelf Life times?
Foods that are lower in acidity, water content tend to have longer shelf lives. Many of our clients add natural preservatives such as citric acid or ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), or artificial preservatives such as stabilizers called carrageenan or xanthan. We can recommend the amount and type of preservatives to use in your product. This needs to be validated by submitting your product for shelf life testing. We offer Recipe Modification consulting and can recommend ways to extend your product’s shelf life.
How is shelf life determined?
Lab testing is the only mehtod to determine an accurate end date of a food product.
Lab testing can be expensive and time consuming; however, there is no way around it. If a food manufacturer, big or small, needs to determine an accurate end date for their product, then testing in a lab must be done.

How long should I test my product for?
As a guideline to determine the length of shelf life testing your product may require, we recommend using a similar product that is sold on shelves currently with similar ingredients to determine the shelf life testing duration. Other factors to consider when determining shelf life estimates are whether or not your product has preservatives or if it is heat sealed to preserve freshness. Also, if you are making the product in commercial kitchen versus a home based kitchen, this can greatly impact your shelf life duration.
Is food safety the only concern with shelf life?
Some products may have a long shelf life such as beef jerky or dried foods, however, you need to consider the aesthetics also known as the organoleptic properties:
  • Appearance
  • Aroma
  • Taste
These elements are all affected with time. Giving your product an extended shelf life, even though it may be safe to eat, will certainly affect the quality of the eating experience.
Is it the same price for a one year shelf life test as a one month test?
Yes, the cost is $850 regardless of expectant time.
What are some examples of shelf life times?
Here are a few shelf life duration guidelines that we have collected over the years that may give you some idea of how long to test.
  • Beef Jerky 9 months – 1 year
  • BBQ Sauces 4 months – 6 months
  • Pasteurized Dairy Products: 3 weeks
  • Raw Juices 5 days
  • Cakes, Cookies & Other Bakery Goods WITH preservatives 30 days
  • Salsa 3 months – 4 months
What factors can influence a shelf life?
Ingredients (formulation), how it’s processed, types of packaging, and storage temperatures – either refrigerated or shelf stable (room temperature) can influence the shelf life of a food product.
What is Shelf Life?
Shelf life is the amount of time a food or beverage is given until it is considered unsuitable for sale or consumption. The shelf life of a food product begins at the time the it was manufactured or prepared.