Proper storage of ingredients is critical to maintain quality, safety and consistency of end products. Optimal conditioned storage of ingredients may save users money in the long run by extending shelf life and maintaining critical attributes. Obtaining vendor ingredient guidance, understanding aging profiles and item-specific characteristics as well as applying prudent controls are useful and necessary tools clients need protect the safety and quality of food ingredients, and, thus, finished products and the public interest.
Each ingredient has a specific lifecycle profile which includes degradation and spoilage. Use of marginally compliant storage practices may reduce shelf life and impact ingredient performance expectations in intermediate and finished products. Conversely, once the user understands the characteristics and limitations of an ingredient, that user is best positioned to apply best storage and handling practices in order to retain beneficial characteristics and avoid premature degradation.
Typically, time, temperature, humidity, light and ambient aroma are the five characteristics which control and impact ingredient quality during storage and transportation, however, there are other factors which may be within the control of the customer. Package contact materials, permeability, barrier characteristics, internal environmental characteristics, water activity and many other characteristics of primary and secondary packaging have the ability to impact storage gradients. Storage area locations and characteristics, rotation and handling, filtering, sequestering and other ingredient segment-based practices may be employed to reduce degradation or spoilage mechanisms and influence retention of desired quality attributes.
EHA food ingredient and packaging professionals have broad experience with basic food ingredients as well as complex, processed items. EHA experts assist clients in the analysis of ingredient storage and supply chains. Details collected from each analysis are used to identify risks and predict quality outcomes based on controls which may be applied. Informed clients are presented with ingredient spoilage and critical characteristic risk profiles, then make informed storage decisions on containment, storage conditions and handling based on food safety and qualitative risks/reward balance.