| FAQ - Instrument Processing - Archived Through 2012
What is the shelf life of a packaged instrument after it has been sterilized? Should sterile pouches be dated?
Although either event- or time-related practices for storage of sterile packages may be used, it is important to understand that the package contents should remain sterile indefinitely unless some outside event, such as tearing or moisture causes the pouch to become compromised. At that time it is important to repackage and resterilize the package contents to ensure sterility of the instruments. Placing a date on a package cannot ensure sterile contents if the package was compromised during the storage period. Sterile packages should, however, be marked to indicate the date the item was processed and the sterilizer they were processed in. This will facilitate recall of items in the event monitoring detects a problem with a sterilizer.