To help food processors and customers more accurately and objectively assess refrigerated shelf life quality, theRefrigerated Foods Association (RFA), Atlanta, has revised -- and now published -- an authoritative protocol study.

Originally developed in 2002, officials say the RFA Shelf Life Protocol was updated this year to reflect several important regulatory and technological changes adopted in the food industry.

"The RFA Shelf Life Protocol is intended to provide a framework such that individual manufacturers or their customers can determine their product shelf life and compare their stated shelf life against like products produced by other manufacturers," said RFA Technical Director Martin Mitchell, who co-authored the study with Dr. Catherine Donnelly, a professor of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Vermont.

The full 2009 RFA Shelf Life Protocol Report is available to RFA members and non-members free of charge. For more information, visit http://refrigeratedfoods.org/rfaprotocol.html.