Heat impact to food’s shelf life - An example of milk

(1) Torrey Pines High School, San Diego, CA , (2) Versum Materials, Tempe, AZ

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Food spoilage happens when food is not kept in a good storage condition. A common cause of food spoilage is exposure to high temperatures. Heat exposed food will have a shorter shelf life. Qualitatively estimating the shortened shelf life of food could reduce food waste. In this study, we tested the impact of heat on milk shelf life. We estimated the shelf life loss for milk, which is usually stored at 4°C, after high temperature exposure based on the first-order model with Arrhenius equation. Our results showed that an exposure at room temperature (25°C) for 3.2 hours will decrease the shelf life of milk by one day. With the first-order model and results in the study, we wrote a Python program. The program could predict the loss of the shelf life of milk after its exposure to high temperature for a certain period of time.

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