Features Health & Fitness

#DidYouKnow: The Difference Between Best Before & Expiry Date

Whenever you buy a packaged food item, it’s always advisable to note the date which the manufacturer/producer recommends it suitable for consumption.

On some food items, you might see an “Expiry Date” and on some others, you might see a “Best Before Date“. These dates are very important to note. But what we are discussing today is the difference. Do you really know the difference between these two dates?

I did some online search and came up with these definitions:

Best before date: Length of time which an item is suitable for sale. It is the recommended time which a product will remain good. This date is more of a guideline and it gives the recommended date by which the product is best consumed by. This is the date up to and including which the food can be expected to remain at peak quality if properly stored. Food may be edible after this date; however its quality may suffer, e.g. potato crisps might become soft.

Expiry date: Indicates that the product is no longer safe to consume after the specified date.

What’s the difference?

If food must not be consumed after a certain date for health and safety reasons, the ‘Expiration date’ mark must be used. Foods labeled ‘Expiration date’ cannot be sold after the date has expired. A ‘Best Before’ date would be used for shelf stable foods, dry goods such as biscuits and confectionery, frozen foods, most raw foods that will be cooked before being eaten (eg. meat, chicken, fish) or foods that will noticeably spoil before becoming a safety issue.

In some countries, food marked with a ‘Best Before’ date can still be sold after that date provided it is safe and suitable for consumption. Any storage conditions that are necessary to ensure that a food will retain its specific qualities for the period indicated by the date mark, must be declared on the label.

I hope this clarifies.

If you were to make a choice, would you prefer the use of ‘Expiry Date’ over ‘Best Before’ date to avoid any mistakes?

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