Refrigerated Foods Association (RFA) Standardized Protocol
for Determining Shelf Life of Refrigerated Foods was originally
developed in 2002. Since that time, industry’s experience
and a number of important regulatory and technological
changes have been adopted within the food industry, necessitating
the need for updating this protocol.
The purpose of the original standardized protocol was to enable individual manufacturers, and or their customers if they so desired, to determine their product shelf life and compare their stated shelf life with the shelf life of similar products produced by other manufacturers through the utilization of this standardized method. The standardized protocol has been updated, specifically to include with it issues raised by the proposed FDA Compliance Guideline allowing a tolerance for the psychrotrophic pathogen Listeria monocytogenes in foods that do not support its growth. In addition, the protocol has been revised to employ mathematicalmodeling to address growth and/or control of nonproteolytic C. botulinum type E strains in seafood products where modified atmosphere packaging is utilized.
Utilization of the RFA Protocol is an important step in assurance of the quality and safety of refrigerated foods and in meeting compliance with anticipated regulatory changes.
Published with permission of the Refrigerated Foods Association for which Martin Mitchell serves as the Technical Director.