Contact us

Challenge tests

Challenge tests to substantiate the food shelf life of your product

Smartfood R&D provides customised challenge tests to substantiate food shelf life. We have an extensive collection of pathogenic and non-pathogenic micro-organisms and avail of relevant strains for each product, process and storage condition.

By integrating our expertise in accelerated shelf-life tests into challenge tests, we can also accelerate our challenge testing by a factor of up to 10. 

Before deploying a challenge test, we need to be fully informed about the recipe, the production process and the product’s expected storage conditions. Based on this information, we start by calculating whether the challenge test has any chance of success.

We continue by designing a customised challenge test specific to the product under investigation, the process to be applied and the desired storage conditions.


Challenge testing Listeria monocytogenes

The unique combination of challenge tests and accelerated shelf-life tests also allows us to accelerate our clients’ entire R&D process.

Challenge tests Listeria monocytogenes and other pathogens

Our dedicated pathogens lab is equipped to carry out Salmonella SPP challenge tests and Listeria monocytogenes challenge tests, as well as other customised pathogen tests. For these challenge tests, we start by considering the process or risk to be validated.

Based on the identified risk, we compile a cocktail of strains relevant to a particular product or process, and continue by creating a test design that suits the risk to be validated. We can then continue to carry out the shelf-life test.

Carrying out a proper Listeria monocytogenes challenge test in accordance with NVWA info sheet 85 requires more than knowledge of microbiology. We naturally follow the EURLm Technical guidance document for carrying out Listeria monocytogenes challenge tests; prepare our reports according to NVWA info sheet 85 and we carry out all counts and measurements with the highest possible precision. 

Visit for our comprehensive view of the integrated approach to Listeria monocytogenes risk management.

Challenge tests using pathogen surrogates

We avail of an extensive collection of pathogen surrogates. Although these surrogates contain the specific properties of a particular pathogen, they are completely harmless. We use pathogen surrogates for the on-site validation of heating processes.

Challenge testing Listeria monocytogenes

View our other services