The shelf life of Snus depends on a number of factors e.g. the water content. A lower moisture level results in a longer shelf life. Moist Snus has a limited shelf life and should not be kept at room temperature for more than a couple of weeks. Dry portion packs, however, do not have this limitation.
The general recommendation is to keep moist Snus refrigerated. The Snus will then be very stable and can be kept for several weeks.
To keep Snus for a longer period it should be frozen and you can keep it for at least a year. To avoid frozen Snus from drying out you should freeze it in a freezing bag. Thawing of Snus in cardboard cans should be done in a refrigerator, thus eliminating the condensed water to dissolve the glue in the can. Plastic cans are not sensitive to external moisture and can be thawed in room temperature.
Changes that might occur when Snus is stored for some time include changes that are typical for many foodstuffs.
- Drying out, i.e. evaporation of water.
- Flavour changes due to ageing.
- Growth of micro-organisms such as bacteria or mould.
Drying affects all products with a high water content and is prevented with a water tight package. Snus has a fairly high water content, normally between 50 - 60 %. Thus, a minor loss of water does not affect the consistency very much. In Sweden, loose Snus is packed in a paraffin coated cardboard can, which under normal distribution conditions is good enough to keep the moisture. Moist pouch products are more sensitive to drying and are therefore packed in the tighter plastic cans.
Flavour changes result in deterioration of taste and aroma characteristics of the product. The Snus might get a stale aroma and taste. These changes are caused by reactions with oxygen from the air, reactions which are very dependent on temperature. We recommend always to keep Snus refrigerated for any longer periods.
Shelf life problems due to growth of micro-organisms are rare. The pasteurisation process during manufacturing normally denatures the natural microflora originating from the tobacco. However, as with pasteurised milk, the pasteurisation process will not render the Snus completely sterile. Under warm storing conditions there remains a small risk of bacteria growth. We have, however, never found any pathogenic bacteria in Snus.
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