New Shelf-Life Rules Could Save Tonnes of Food Waste

Shelf lives on meat products could be extended, as new research suggests they are becoming increasingly outdated.

A study conducted by the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) found that the “10-day” rule was no longer applicable due to advances in modern-day packaging. Experts noticed that shelf lives weren’t necessarily accurate given the current high standards of production - especially since the introduction of vacuum and modified atmosphere packaging in 2017.

In effect, the study could spell the end of restrictive shelf lives as findings showed meats chilled at temperatures between 3°C and 8°C could withstand safety tests well after the traditional 10-day mark. The impact of these findings could be remarkable as meat processors would be able to save money while the consumer would benefit from the inevitable reduction in wastage.

David Lindars, a BMPA director who conducted the research, said: “The shelf life of fresh red meat held at 3°C and 8°C is of great significance to the industry.

“These new scientific findings will give meat processors the ammunition they need to apply longer retail shelf-lives to their products.

“It is not just the commercial benefit to producers, processors and retailers that will result from these findings.

“Longer shelf lives of products will also benefit consumers and the environment through lower wastage and better sustainability.

“It’s a significant piece of research which will bring significant benefits to everyone involved in the production, selling and consumption of British meat products.”