Food Branch

Challenge Testing Service

Shelf life determination of the food products.


Challenge testing is designed to provide behavioural information on inoculated microorganisms intentionally introduced into food products and one of the methods for shelf life determination. Microbiological challenge testing can be introduced to raw materials during the manufacturing process, intermediate products  or finish goods to any fresh product carefully selected from the comprehensive risk assessment evaluation.


The concentration and the growth rate of inoculated microorganism simulates product’s intended shelf life and provides the professional guarantee for the product safety throughout the whole shelf life of the product.


J.S. Hamilton Poland sp. z o.o. Laboratory will provide the microbiological challenge testing to evaluate the growth potential (δ). The purpose of the study is to ensure that ready-to-eat food meets the safety complying criteria specified for the selected microorganism throughout their shelf life.


Challenge testing is carried out according to :


  • The EURL LM TECHNICAL GUIDANCE DOCUMENT for conducting shelf-life studies on Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods Version 3 – 6 June 2014- Amendment 1 of 21 February 2019
  • The PN-EN ISO 20976-1:2019-05   Microbiology of the food chain – Requirements and guidelines for conducting challenge tests of food and feed products.


We would like to offer this testing study to all the food manufactures of ready-to-eat foods to enable to take measures to control the amount of microorganism and bacterial contamination but also the growth rate of microbial level in the final food product throughout its shelf life.


We conduct the testing plan in accordance to the latest research established for the specific food vs. microorganism combination as the results of analysing production schedules and manufacturing conditions.


Knowledge of products pH, water activity, temperature and storage period, added preservatives, and the presence of starter cultures is necessary to establish the correct draft plan for the study.


Challenge test evaluation results are normally used to validate the ready-to-eat products in which the growth of the test organism may be present, or as ready-to-eat foods in which the growth of the test organism does not occur during its shelf life. When the initial contamination level is known,  the microbial growth potential enables to determine the final concentration for identical food, strain, and storage conditions.


In case you found those information are in line with your business purposes or expectations please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service Team: