The four main pieces of legislation relevant to the area of shelf-life, which should be consulted for more detailed information, are:
- Regulation 178/2002/EC laying down the general principles and requirements of food law, establishing the European Food Safety Authority and laying down procedures in matters of food safety
- Regulation 852/2004/EC on the hygiene of foodstuffs
- Regulation 2073/2005/EC on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs
- Regulation 1169/2011/EU on the provision of food information to consumers
Below is a selection of guidance documents which should be of use in determining shelf-life:
- Guidance Note 3 – Guidelines for the Interpretation of results of microbiological testing of ready-to-eat foods placed on the market
- Guidance Note 27– Guidance note on the enforcement of Commission Regulation (EC) No. 2073/2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs
- Guidance Note 18 – Validation of Product Shelf-life (Revision 3)
- EU (2013) Guidance Document on Listeria monocytogenes shelf-life studies for ready-to-eat foods under Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 of 15 November 2005 on microbiological criteria for foodstuffs. This document is aimed at food business operators producing ready-to-eat foods. It helps them to decide if L. monocytogenes is a risk in their product. It also helps them decide which shelf-life studies are needed.
- EU (2021) Technical guidance document for conducting shelf-life studies on Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat foods. (Version 4, the 1, July 2021) This document is aimed at laboratories. It provides them with detailed information on how to conduct shelf-life studies, in particular challenge studies and durability studies.
- Guidance on date marking and related food information: part 1 (date marking), (EFSA,2020)
- Guidance on date marking and related food information: part 2 (food information), (EFSA, 2021)