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Vintage Jar Collection
 Have a new product and need to determine its shelf life? 
Vintage Jar Collection

Let TWIN ARBOR LABS Help You Determine Your Products Shelf Life

 What is shelf life? 

  • This date refers to the length of time a product may be stored under recommended conditions before it becomes unfit for use, consumption, or sale. 

 What factors affect shelf life? 

  • Unwanted microbial contamination 

  • Oxidation 

  • Acidity (pH) 

  • Available water for microbial growth (water activity) 

  • Emulsification stability 

  • Preservative system 

  • Temperature 

  • Light 

  • Packaging material 

  • Storage conditions 

  • Transportation 

  • Etc.

Why is determining shelf life important? 

  • Not only can degradation impact your brand reputation, but consumers expect the products they are using to be safe for consumer use. 

  • To be in compliance, it is imperative that your product as the most accurate expiration date as possible, to prevent any consumer illnesses and potential lawsuits. 

  • Additionally, many distributors will require you provide accredited 3rd party stability testing results in order to carry a specific product. 

 Shelf-Life Studies By Industry: 

Volunteers Packing Food
Volunteers Packing Food

Food Industry

  • Food shelf-life can vary greatly depending on the food type; thus, we offer a real-time study or accelerated studies in which we provide testing up to 6 time points. The time points will be determined by closely related products, or client requested. 

    • ​If the product spoils prior to all the time points being tested, the price is still the same. 

  • ​At the end of the study, you will receive all data from all time points tested, and a recommend shelf-life expiration date based on the available data. 

 Beverage Industry

  • Typically, fermented beverages (beer, kombucha, Jun, probiotic juices and waters, etc.) have a shelf-life of 3-12 months under refrigeration storage conditions. This is due to issues with microbial spoilage, or in the case of non-alcoholic beverages (kombucha, jun, probiotic juices and waters) becoming out of compliance with FDA regulations on alcohol by volume concentrations (<0.5% ABV). 

  • However longer shelf-life can be extended with shelf-life data, or pasteurization of the product. 

Beauty Products

Cosmetics/Personal Care 

  • We follow ISO/TR 18811:2018(E) standard to determine stability of cosmetics and personal care products, which states: 

    • “Stability studies are aimed at assessing the ability of a product to maintain the desired physical, chemical and microbiological properties, as well as functionality and sensorial properties when stored and used under appropriate conditions by the consumer. More simply, the objective of a stability study is to determine the shelf life of a product and to evaluate whether a product in the package is stable when subjected to the market conditions in which it is sold and used. The “market conditions” encompass distribution (transportation), warehouse storage and conditions during use. 

  • Thus, the stability study may be seen as a prerequisite for ensuring product quality. Stability tests on cosmetic products are required for: 

    • Obtaining guidance on the formulation of the product, and the appropriate packaging material. 

    • Optimizing the formulation and manufacturing process. 

    • Determining conditions of transportation, storage, display and manner of use. 

    • Estimating and confirming shelf life and ensuring customer safety. 

Beauty Products
Bottle of Capsules
Bottle of Capsules

Supplements/Probiotics 

• A supplement formula may be comprised of a mixture of a large number of diverse chemical substances (active ingredients, technological additives, flavors, colors, carriers and bulking agents), all of which can potentially affect the shelf life of the product. o It is important that the main mechanisms of deterioration are fully understood in the context of the product under development. • Many of the processes of deterioration in supplements can be associated with moisture and its gain, and sometimes loss, in a product. • As a generalization, an increase in the temperature increases the rate of a chemical reaction. This effect forms the basis of most of the stability studies, as the higher the temperature, the shorter the potential shelf life. • In terms of supplement stability, oxygen is one of the more critical factors, as many common active ingredients found in supplements, such as vitamins and fish oils, are susceptible to oxidation. • The presence of strong oxidizing or reducing agents in a multi-component formula can have a deleterious effect on the stability of several active ingredients, particularly vitamins. o For example, vitamins A, D and C are very sensitive to oxidants, whilst vitamin B12 is sensitive to reducing agents. The Fe2+ ion, such as in iron (II) sulphate, is a common reducing agent, as are several organic acids. It is essential that proposed formulations are checked at an early stage of development to remove these potential sources of instability. • Light can play a role in the deterioration of a product and can affect the organoleptic properties and label claims. o Exposure to light can reduce the activity of a few vitamins, including riboflavin and vitamins A (as retinol or retinyl palmitate), D and K. o Several colors and other nutrients such as chlorophylls, turmeric (curcumin) and betanin also have poor light stability. Adverse changes to these can have an effect both on the product appearance and its label claims. • The pH of a liquid supplement or the ‘apparent’ pH of paste-filled soft-gel capsules can significantly affects the shelf life of several active components. o For example, about half the vitamins are susceptible to low pH conditions, while the other half are affected by high pH. ▪ Thus, in the case of a multivitamin liquid supplement, the pH may need to be adjusted to around 7.0 to maximize shelf life. o The pH of a liquid supplement can also influence the microbiological stability and on the stability of several other ingredients and additives such as colors. o There is also the problem that several preservatives used in liquid supplements can only work effectively within specific pH ranges. • Typical supplement stability studies are designed to verify stability of active ingredients, confirm organoleptic sensory attributes (visual appearance, taste, and odor), pH, water activity, and screening of microbial contaminates over specified time intervals under specific storage conditions. • Typical probiotic supplements stability studies are designed to ensure the probiotic species maintain viability by conducting total probiotic plate counts following USP standard method, along with organoleptic sensory attributes (visual appearance, taste, and odor), pH, water activity, and screening of microbial contaminates over specified time intervals under specific storage conditions. o Additionally, depending on what species are present, we can confirm identity by qPCR. o We are currently working on validating qPCR targeted assays for the most common probiotic species used in probiotic supplement industry.

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