cHALLENGE TEST

This validates the safety and stability of the product throughout its shelf life.

According to Regulation EC 1441/2007 (amendment of Regulation (EC) 2073/2005) on microbiological criteria for foods, agri-food companies must conduct, when necessary (especially in ready-to-eat foods), studies on compliance with the microbiological criteria throughout the product’s shelf-life to ensure its safety and stability.

The Listeria monocytogenes Growth Potential Assessment studies are conducted by Challenge test according to the guidelines in the document by the Community Reference Laboratory (CRL): "Technical Guidance: Shelf-life Studies for Listeria monocytogenes in Ready-to-eat foods".

At AINIA we add value to the food stability process



  • Extensive knowledge and experience in all sectors of food production processes.

  • AINIA’s extensive database of analytical results of real samples, represented by all food sectors.

  • Extensive knowledge of the main pathogenic and/or relevant spoilage micro-organisms and their behaviour.

  • Extensive experience in conducting Listeria monocytogenesgrowth potential studies according to the current legislation protocol

  • Specific equipment that performs inoculations of micro-organisms under conditions that do not alter the intrinsic characteristics of the food.

  • Our Biological and Genetic Resources Collection contains thousands of strains from reputable culture collections (CECT, ATCC, CCUG), as well as wild strains isolated from a wide variety of food matrices. All are available for this type of study.

  • We can also adapt customised studies to each case according to the specific requirements of the regional health authorities. If necessary, we will even hold technical meetings with them.


Challenge test, food shelf-life studies

Our solutions include:

  • Selection of relevant strains and inoculum preparation according to reference protocol.

  • Variability study of the physical-chemical characteristics of water activity and pH to determine the number of samples and batches to be studied

  • Assessment of the most appropriate inoculation procedure to ensure that the micro-organisms are correctly implanted and distributed homogeneously in the product. This also ensures that the product will retain its packaging conditions throughout its shelf life

  • Realistic simulation of the cold chain that the product under study will be subjected to from the moment it is manufactured until it is stored by the final consumer.

  • Conducting the corresponding analyses, according to Bioassay Laboratory analytical procedures/protocols and following ENAC-accredited methods where appropriate

  • Interpretation of results or calculation of Listeria monocytogenesGrowth Potential (δ)

  • Submittal of results report with conclusions


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Laura Verdú
Food quality and security

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