Best practices for storing powdered milk replacer

Published On: April 6, 2021

To achieve protein and fat nutrient profiles similar to mothers milk our companion animal milk replacers consist of a blend of high quality dry milk ingredients and freeze-dried liquid fat. KittenGro and PuppyGro dry powder pouches have a shelf life of 18-months from production and should be stored sealed, out of direct sunlight, in a cool, dry location (at or below 25°C). Proper storage will help prevent fat oxidation and loss of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Here are some tips and tricks to help keep your powdered milk replacer as fresh as possible and maximize shelf-life after opening:

1. Keep out of direct sunlight: Essential vitamins and minerals are susceptible to degradation when exposed to light, air, and heat. Powder should be stored out of direct sunlight, ideally in a cool dark location such as a cupboard. Placing the milk replacer pouch in an opaque bag or container will further block exposure to excess light.

2. Temperature & Humidity: To avoid nutrient degradation, fat oxidation, and fat-soluble vitamin (A, D, and E) losses due to heat or high temperatures, powder should be stored between 5 and 25°C with a relative humidity ≤ 60%. Dry powder should not be stored in the refrigerator.

3. Moisture free: Although the moisture content of dry powder is relatively low (<4%) powder will absorb moisture from the surrounding air, especially with increased humidity. High temperatures combined with high humidity can introduce moisture forming clumps and increase risk of spoilage, rancidity, and mold. Powder that is subject to rapid temperature changes (cold to warm and vice versa) will cause condensation forming clumps making it difficult to break up when measuring and reconstituting. To control moisture, powder should be stored with the pouch sealed, at an appropriate temperature and humidity. For long term storage, food
grade moisture desiccants (moisture absorbers) can also be used.

4. Oxygen free: Due to the high fat requirement of our companion animal milk replacers, our powders are susceptible to fat oxidation when exposed to excess oxygen over time. Oxidation causes the fats in the milk replacer to break down, altering the nutritional value, flavor/taste, and colour. Powder not only absorbs moisture, but also odors from its surroundings. This can cause the powder to take on a bad smell or taste/flavor. To limit excessive oxidation and smell/flavor/taste changes it is important to keep pouches sealed when not in use, with little air left inside. For long-term storage, placing pouches into air-tight containers or transferring powder into vacuum sealed food grade mylar bags are also good options. Food grade oxygen absorbers can also be used.

5. Bulk: Did you know we offer our milk replacer in bulk? The waxy paper bag provides a shelf life of 12-months from production, however, repackaging into properly stored smaller portions is a great way to prolong the freshness of the powder. If access to a vacuum sealer is available, re-packaging into air-tight bags and placing into opaque containers or dark areas will maximize shelf-life.

6. Freezing: Powder can be frozen (re-warmed slowly) if product will not be used prior to expiry. However, it is not recommended to freeze the product if close to the expiry date. When freezing, re-packaging the powder into doubled up freezer bags with as little air as possible is recommended.

7. Shelf Life: Our milk replacers have a shelf life of 18-months from production, it’s a good idea to always check and record your pouches expiration date after purchase. If appropriate measures are taken to preserve the integrity of the dry powder (re-sealed, dry area, not refrigerated, out of sunlight and away from heat/moisture) our products are stable for the entirety of its shelf life after opening. Dry powder does not need to be stored in the refrigerator.

8. Label: After opening a pouch it is always a good idea to label it with the date it was first opened and the expiry date. This will help you keep track of milk replacer use and shelf-life.

9. Gone bad?: If stored improperly, there are a few signs that dry powder has gone rancid. This includes discoloration, foul odor, clumping, and refusal of milk (bad taste). If moisture has made its way into the powder, there is an increased chance of mold/bacteria and it should be disposed of immediately.

10. Wet Storage: Reconstituted formula that has not been used for feeding can be stored refrigerated for up to 24 hours in a separate clean sealed container. Storage and use of unused portions exceeding 24 hours may promote bacteria growth and should be discarded immediately for the health and safety of your newborn animals. Excess formula that has been used for feeding (left in the bottle) should not be stored and should be disposed of immediately. Formula combined with kitten/puppy saliva can lead to bacteria growth.