Product milestone achieved – shelf life increased 15 days on three products
Nov 05, 2019 (Westby, WI)
Westby Cooperative Creamery is excited to announce that the manufacturing team has lifted the shelf life of its sour cream, lite sour cream and French onion dip to 90 days – 15 days more than previously thought possible. This accomplishment was achieved without formula alterations and can be attributed to sanitation practices and an investment in air handling equipment.
Jason Levendoski, Westby Cooperative Creamery quality manager, said he and his team had been watching the Creamery’s retention lots for two years. Retention lots represent a portion of every batch of product made and are kept for future investigation should a customer complaint or concern arise.
The team noticed that with the investment in new air handling equipment – to reduce humidity during production – along with a switch to Clean-In-Place sanitation practices, the retain lots were lasting longer and longer.
“I saw in the retains that they were all fine until 90-plus days,” Levendoski said. This observation motivated the team to scrutinize on the hypothesis for 18 months, and the results were favorable with the lots maintaining freshness.
“By reducing humidity in the room where these products are made, the Creamery greatly reduced the probability of mold growth,” Levendoski said. Further, the adoption of Clean-In-Place sanitation practices made it easier for operators to follow the Standard Operating Procedures for sanitation.
The extension of shelf life is a big deal because it allows the Creamery to extend distribution. For example, if the product is made on the first of the month, but the customer doesn’t actually receive their product – due to shipping times – until 12 days later, the grocer only has 63 days or less to sell the inventory. This same customer now has a full 78 days of selling time.
Because every operator at Westby Cooperative Creamery is trained and participates in sanitation efforts, this accomplishment is truly a team-driven change.
To learn more about Westby Cooperative Creamery’s certifications visit the “About Us” section online at https://www.westbycreamery.com.