Oats, food storage


Traditionally, shelf life studies of cereal staples have investigated quality after storage for a maximum of several (~18) months. However, there is a market for product that will store for much longer periods of time, intended for such uses as personal storage, emergency relief efforts and military rations. Rolled oats in hermetically sealed cans and treated to remove oxygen are available at the retail level, yet little work has investigated the effects of long-term storage on quality. The objective of this research was to investigate the quality of regular and quick rolled oats packaged in cans for long-term storage. Twenty samples of rolled oats (11 regular, 9 quick) packaged in No. 10 cans were obtained from donors. Samples ranged in age from 1-28 years. A 50-member consumer panel evaluated prepared oatmeal for aroma, texture, flavor, aftertaste, and overall acceptability using a 9-point hedonic scale. Can headspace oxygen, can seam quality, and water activity were also measured. Hedonic scores for overall acceptability varied from 3.8-6.5. Besides two heat abused samples, all brands had a hedonic score of 5.0 or above (neither like nor dislike) Headspace oxygen ranged from .43% - 20.7%, with one-fifth of the cans having >2% oxygen. Wide variation in can seam quality was observed, which correlated with headspace oxygen levels. Water activity ranged from .45 to .62. Regular oats were significantly preferred over quick oats in flavor, texture, and overall acceptability. Using regression analysis, age of sample significantly affected hedonic scores for aroma, texture, flavor and overall acceptability. Flavor and texture was significantly affected by oxygen level. Although loss of quality occurred during storage, the level of acceptability indicates that including rolled oats in long-term storage is a viable option. Manufactures must observe good manufacturing practices and consumers must properly store rolled oats in proper storage conditions to maximize shelf-life.

Original Publication Citation

McEwan MB, Ogden LV, and Pike OA. July 23. Effects of long-term storage on quality of regular and quick rolled oats. Poster presentation. Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting.

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Life Sciences


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science