New Shelf Life Determination Guidelines

September 05, 2014 at 10:04 AM

On 27th August 2014 the revised and updated MPI food industry guidance document How to Determine the Shelf Life of Food was published.  The guidance document and accompanying memo is available from the MPI website at  

The updated guidance document is intended to help  food operators who process, prepare and handle food to determine the shelf life, in particular chilled ready-to-eat foods, and to apply appropriate date marking.

This document updates and replaces the 2005 Information Booklet for the Food Industry – A Guide to Calculating Shelf Life of Foods ( and reflects the recent revision of the Food Standards Code, Standard 1.6.1 – Microbiological Limits for Food.

The Schedule to Standard 1.6.1 – Microbiological Limits in Food specifies end point microbiological limits (i.e. measured at the end of a product’s shelf life) for L. monocytogenes in all types of RTE foods based on whether growth of the microorganism can occur.

This amendment takes effect on 18th September 2014 in New Zealand, which means that from this date processors of any RTE foods to which Standard 1.6.1 applies must comply.






Column 3

Column 4

Column 5

Column 6







Ready-to-eat food in which growth of Listeria monocytogenes will not occur

Listeria monocytogenes



100 cfu/g


Ready-to-eat food in which the growth of Listeria monocytogenes can occur

Listeria monocytogenes



Not detected in 25g


It is expected that most operators will continue to apply the limit of L. monocytogenes not detected in 25g when testing product regardless of the changes in Standard 1.6.1 . This is because it can be difficult to confirm that growth will not occur and when testing product, finding any L. monocytogenes may indicate that the process or product controls have not been fully effective.

MPI is preparing factsheets that should provide further information for food operators and these are expected to be available shortly.  In the meantime, FSANZ has prepared a guidance document “Guidance on the application of microbiological criteria for Listeria monocytogenes in RTE food”‚Äč that can be used to help interpret and apply the micro limits for L. monocytogenes in RTE foods. A copy of the FSANZ factsheet can be found at:

Tags: shelf life determination Listeria monocytogenes in ready to eat foods
Category: News



Household Refrigeratorslisteria online traininggluten freeFood Standards Code irradiated foodsous videhydrogen cyanide and apricot kernelssulphites in meatFood safety training resourcesFood Allergen Portalfood defenceFood allergenmetal detector functionalityListeria testing of ready to eat foodsforeign object auditspreserving food with acidsAlcohol labelling guidefood allergen labellingWSMP templateCalculating alcohol in brewed soft drinksFood Act 2014Novel food processing technologiesalcoholic beverages composition requirementsSelf supply waterFood Regulations 2015HPP for milkCommercial sterilisationMy Food PlanFood recall Risk ManagementCoronavirus and food safetyshelfe life guidelinesImported foodNational Programme guidanceFood safety cultureImported forzen berriesfresh produce sanitationSummary of Changes to Food Standards CodeFurther Processing guidelinesFood Safety ToolkitFood Safety training coursesMilk allergen in dark chocolatefood safety programme templatescontract food safety specialistFood Control Plan evaluationmodified atmosphere packingFeeding food waste to pigsLaboratory training coursesFSANZ Food Allergen Portalfood safety updatesFermenting vegetablesfood packagingAlcohol in kombucharare or lightly cooked meat guidelinesListeria Outbreak Rock MelonListeria trainingListeria monocytogenes in ready to eat foodFood safety trendsfood weights and measuresMicrobiological reference criteriafood traceabilityAssured Food Safety new websiteapricot kernels and food safetyFood Recall ProceduresNational ProgrammeCross contamination E coli 0157allergen labellingImported Food made with fortified ingredientsListeria outbreakNew Product DevelopmentListeria guidelinesFood labelingTop 5 Food Safety Topicsfood safety roleListeria samplingWinemakers Food Safety TemplateImported FoodsFood labellingFront of pack labellingE coli 0157 Hamburger meat cookingTemplate FCPDehydrating foodsHACCP podcastTotal Diet Surveyweights and measursListeria monocytogenes in ready to eat foodsOffice administrator positionx ray detector functionalityFood Protection ForumCalculate sanitiserfood and botulism riskNovel foodsCountry of Origin labelling for foodFood processing criteriapart time food safety roleshelf life determinationWhich microbiological limits do I usesous vide for foodserviceFood fermentationPreparing food industry sanitisersfood industry crisis managementAcidificationLabelling of irradiated foodAllergen managementCooking meat and seafoodHealth Star RatingCOVID 19Sushi guidelinesglazed seafood weightsJob VacancyFood Notice for Food Control Plans and National Programmes Internal Audit trainingFood allergensImported Food Risk AdviceHepatitis A in frozen berriesFood safety governancefood legislation updatesreview of food traceability practicesHemp seed food labellingFoodRecall templateFood Safety data capturePet FoodFood business registrationFood safety and Covid 19raw milkEgg labellingStandards for food premisesFood safety and CoronavirusBacterial levels in foodStandard 1.6.1 Listeria testingfood safety auditorMeat smokingCoronavirusPrivate Labelpreservatives in meatConcentration and DryingHurdle Technologyfood standards code indexHome based food businessespre-op inspectionsUCFM GuidelinesEgg shelf lifeMaking food for animalsStorage of meat and seafoodDomestic fridgesHACCP trainingbrix pH and water activitycustom Food Control PlanListeria swabbingcarbon monoxide in fish processingFood Act 2014 exemptionsweights and measuresLupinNational Programme guidelinescarbon monoxidefood contact packagingDrying fruits and vegetables for food safetyHigh Pressure ProcessingFood Safety WatchFood FraudRMP resourcesTemplate Food Control PlanAcidifying FoodCustomise Your National Programmecrisis management guidelinesFood premises requirementsDietary Supplements requirementsHepatitis Asalami food safety guidelinesPathogen swabbingfood preservationFood Fraud Toolkitcontrol of Hepatits A in berrieshow to determine shelf life of foodsGuidelines for National ProgrammesFood Safety Assessor positionFree Listeria training moduleHemp seed can be sold as foodSalami manufactureCovid 19 implications for food manufacturingSignificant amendments to Food Control PlansHeat treatments for meat and seafoodNPDlabel reviewsHot holding meat and seafoodFCP evaluationFood Standards Code revisionFood Safety postersNational ProgrammesEnvironmental swabbingFood Act 2014 resourcesHPPFood Recall guidelinesfish processingFood RecallsRMP template formsFood Safety Buddy magazineWater activity seminarvacuum packingMicrobiological Limits in Foodsale of raw milkFSSC 22000raw milk safetyHepatitis in frozen berries