Shelf-life prediction: theory and application

Bin Fu, Ted P Labuza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Although most food companies have a distinct interest in the shelf-life of their food products, little has been done to determine true shelf-life as a function of variable environmental conditions. Research efforts are generally aimed at improving quality with respect to a longer shelf-life. For true shelf-life prediction, especially for refrigerated foods, knowledge of predictive microbiology is needed. Models that describe influences of temperature and water activity on microbial deterioration are compared and the square-root model is found to be the best based on the criteria of r2 and mean square error. Appropriate approaches are presented for prediction of remaining quality or shelf-life of foods undergoing fluctuating temperature conditions. Finally, the Weibull hazard analysis technique for determination of shelf-life is introduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-133
Number of pages9
JournalFood Control
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was supported in part by a 1992-1993 Graduate Dissertation Fellowship of the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota-South Dakota Dairy Research Center. It is published as paper No. 20 108 of the contribution series of the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.


  • Shelf-life
  • Weibull hazard analysis
  • microbial growth
  • model
  • prediction


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