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Simple Points in Determining Shelf Life

SpecialChem / Nick Morante – Feb 15, 2007

Shelf life is defined as the period of time during which product remains acceptable for consumer use. At the end of a product's shelf life time period, the qualities of the product become unacceptable or undesirable due to changes in odor, color, appearance, texture and most importantly, microbiological preservation. However, most products are usually taken off the cosmetics counter and returned to the manufacturer long before they reach their actual shelf life expiration date. These products should not be permitted to stay on the market if they have surpassed their shelf life. Many factors influence the shelf life of a product. Some of the most important parameters in the determination of shelf life are water activity, pH, and preservation. These are called the intrinsic factors. Some extrinsic factors include storage conditions and temperature, environmental conditions and humidity level. Both intrinsic and extrinsic factors must be taken into consideration when determining the shelf life of a product.

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