Shelf life of raw materials

Unknown Member
edited June 2014 in General

Has anyone seen an industry standard for the shelf life of raw materials?  From my experience 6 month minimum shelf life is the norm for most actives.  Surfactants, emulsifiers, esters and such would be a longer shelf life.  Have you run across any other information or standards?  Thanks


  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    Every responsible company provides the shelf life either as date of expiry or date of recertification as applicable to the product type.
  • Yes that's true.  But can you tell me if there is an industry standard for how long a raw material should be good.  For example, that a raw material should have at least 6 months shelf life (even if they need to be refrigerated to achieve this)?

    Can a supplier tell you they only guarantee a 60 day shelf life of their products (no matter what it is).  Then what happens if the lead time is 10 weeks?  By the time you get it, the product's shelf life has expired!  I have never heard of a 60 day shelf life on raw material.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    The companies do all the testing and evaluation to infer the shelf life, i am sure they must be following the guidelines to protect their own interests and those of their customers.
    Now coming back to the 60 day shelf life I have never heard of it. I am guessing it would be something very sensitive and delicate (maybe some extremely special actives) that they are compelled to give 60 days shelf life after which the activity and efficacy won't be same.
    I hope someone can give a better input.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    the shelf life assigned to a material is the shortest span of time it's guaranteed to be fit for use after its initial approval and certification by the manufacturer's QC department

    beyond the initial shelf life, the manufacturer can't guarantee the material is fit for use without having it re-tested and certified again

    the shelf life of a given material will depend on the nature of the material; inert dry powders have the longest shelf lives, while reactive and/or microbially vulnerable materials have the shortest

    just out of interest, what is this material that only has a 60 day shelf life? the shortest shelf life I've ever personally come across is 3 months, and that was for a concentrated vitamin C encapsulate
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Our default expiration date for cosmetic raw materials was one year.  At the one year mark the material would be re-evaluated for how well it matched specifications.  If it was still good we would give it another year 'til expiration.  However, in our company raw materials rarely stayed in inventory for more than a year.  Only things like dye powders would last that long.
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