IFT FIRST 2024 Logo No Dates

Join us July 13th-14th

8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

Hyatt Regency Chicago


Maximize your learning and networking! Join us for this workshop and the entire IFT FIRST: Annual Event and Expo experience by registering below.

Register for Event + Workshop

Can't make the event but still want to join us for this workshop? You can register separately for the workshop below:

Register for Workshop Only


Course Overview:

Many companies face challenges correctly identifying a product’s best by date, resulting often in wasting food that is still acceptable. Shelf-life testing can be difficult and a resource drain, causing many companies to delay or avoid attempts at measuring shelf-life. This workshop will introduce the Shelf-Life Simplified Paradigm, which streamlines shelf-life investigations on shelf stable products by narrowing the scope to only consider modes of failure applicable for the expected water activity range of the product.  

By eliminating the need to track modes of failure that are not likely for the product, collection of time series data that quantifies the mode of failure is much easier. This time series data is needed to construct effective shelf-life models. Traditionally, shelf-life models would only account for temperature as a variable. However, simplified shelf life incorporates the hygrothermal time model, which is the only shelf-life model in the literature that contains both temperature and water activity as variables.  

This workshop will provide examples of how to set up an accelerated shelf-life study and then use this data to create a hygrothermal time model to predict shelf life at a range of storage conditions. In addition, this workshop will provide instruction on how water activity controls microbial spoilage and how to prevent and model moisture migration. Finally, the workshop will cover failures related to texture changes and how establishing a critical water activity can prevent failures. Attendees will be equipped to pursue attainable shelf-life testing on their own products and prevent future product failures through water activity control. Important note: This approach is not applicable to investigating the shelf life of fresh products and the workshop will not address shelf-life testing of things like fresh produce. 


  • Theory of Water Activity
  • Water Activity Measurement
  • Moisture Sorption Isotherms
  • Shelf-Life Simplified Explained
  • Mode of Failure: Microbial Spoilage, Chemical Change, Physical Change
  • Packaging Strategies to Improve Shelf Life
  • Shelf-Life Modeling - Let's Do the Math

IFT will host a complimentary Happy Hour & Networking Event for all registered workshop attendees on July 13th following Day 1 of lecture. 


Brady Carter

Brady Carter, PhD
Senior Scientist at Carter Scientific Solutions

Dr. Brady Carter is a Senior Research Scientist with Carter Scientific Solutions. He specializes in Water Activity, moisture sorption, moisture determination, agricultural production, flow cytometry, multi-spectral imaging, and plant science.  Dr. Carter earned his Ph.D. and M.S Degree in Food Engineering and Crop Science from Washington State University and a B.A. Degree in Botany from Weber State University. . Read more.

Lisa Mauer

Lisa Mauer, PhD
Professor and Associate Vice Provost at Purdue University

Lisa Mauer is a professor in the Department of Food Science and the Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research and associate vice provost for faculty affairs at Purdue University. She joined IFT in 1992 and is now an IFT Fellow. Her research focuses on food materials science structure-function questions, emphasizing low and intermediate-moisture products, water-solid interactions (including deliquescence), food ingredient architecture, and micronutrient stability, for which she has received numerous awards, including the IFT Marcel Loncin Prize and the IFT Research and Development Award. . Read more.


Michelle Richardson, PhD
Senior Food Scientist , Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center