What Are We Studying?

 

Effects of Storage Conditions on Shelf-Life
  • Improve understanding of temperature, humidity, and other environmental extremes to which foods are subjected during distribution and long-term storage-- including home storage.
  • Evaluate the effects of environmental conditions on quality and shelf-life of specific foods and commodities.
  • Develop and evaluate practical methods for controlling and mitigating environmental effects to extend shelf-life during distribution and long-term storage.
 
 
Powdered milk samples stored up to 29 years being served to a panelist
Powdered milk samples stored up to 29 years being served to a panelist. Panelists answered whether or not they would drink each sample in an emergency situation. Acceptance decreased with time, but all samples were considered acceptable for emergency use by over 50% of the panelists.
  Chart showing the acceptance of nonfat dry milk to drink in an emergency situation Acceptance of nonfat dry milk to drink in an emergency situation.   Bread made with 20 year-old wheat stored in garage or in a cool basement
Bread made with 20 year-old wheat stored in garage (left) or in a cool basement (right).
 
 
 
Shelf-Life Extension
Extend the shelf-life of foods and agricultural commodities by developing and evaluating the effect of novel processes, unique food additives and formulations, traditional and modified-atmosphere packaging on long-term storage.
 
 
Packaging such as cans may be used in combination with oxygen absorber packets to extend shelf-life of dry foods   Processing food helps to extend its shelf-life. Chart courtesy of the Institute of Food Technologists
Packaging such as cans may be used in combination with oxygen absorber packets to extend shelf-life of dry foods.     Processing food helps to extend its shelf-life. Chart courtesy of the Institute of Food Technologists.
 
 

Shelf-Life Testing Methodology
Develop new and improved accelerated methods for determining the quality and acceptability of foods and commodities over their storage life.
 
 
Shelf-life can be determined by evaluating various food attributes
Shelf-life can be determined by evaluating various food attributes.
  Temperature control rooms are used to store food for shelf-life studies. They allow food to be tested at a variety of temperature and humidity levels
Temperature control rooms are used to store food for shelf-life studies. They allow food to be tested at a variety of temperature and humidity levels.
 
 

International Food Storage Recommendations
  • Increase availability of nutritious foods in developing countries by using readily adaptable methods for processing indigenous foods.
  • Evaluate the composition and functionality of underutilized, indigenous foods suitable for long-term storage.
  •  Evaluate novel mechanisms for minimizing post-harvest losses of staple foods.
 
 
Taro and breadfruit are staple foods in the South Pacific. Research will determine if they can be further processed to extend their shelf-life     Quinoa is grown in the Andean region of South America. It is an underutilized food crop that has excellent nutritional properties
Taro and breadfruit are staple foods in the South Pacific. Research will determine if they can be further processed to extend their shelf-life.     Quinoa is grown in the Andean region of South America. It is an underutilized food crop that has excellent nutritional properties.