Many times when we buy any food items , we end up buying those which have crossed their expiry date. These dates are important since they indicate how long food can be kept before it begins to deteriorate or may become unsafe to eat. However, there is often a confusion between best before date, expiry date and use by date that appear in the label. So what is the difference?
Best Before and Expiry Date are two labels, which are used for the shelf life of a product, mostly a food product. Consumers should look for the shelf life of that product as these indicate the time till which the product can be eaten safely. Checking the expiry date or the best before date is a must when buying food products.
However, manufacturing dates help us in choosing a freshly manufactured product – which implies that the manufactured date should be a date closer to the date you are shopping. Expiry date and best before dates should always be in the future by the time you shop if you want to consume a good food product.
What does Best Before mean?
The best before date indicates the date till which the food will be at its best quality in terms of its taste and the nutrients it provides, and the food may still be eaten after the date has passed, but it’s quality may have begun to degrade. The foods mostly sold in the tinned or packed form usually bear this date. For example, in US for eggs have a best before date of maximum 45 days after the eggs are packed. This is because eggs may contain salmonella (salmonella is a type of bacteria). The best before date usually appears on the label of a product. Sometimes, we see a text that say ‘best before see lid’ or ‘best before see bottom’. It is always advisable to check the dates and take decision.
What does Expiry Date mean?
Expiry date means the date till which the food or some product sold in peripheral package is completely safe to eat but unlike Best Before date, the product is not safe to eat after the expiry date. Once the expiry date is reached, the food becomes unhealthy for consumption and could instead result in health problems such as food poisoning. It is strictly advised to avoid eating products which are nearing their expiry date and especially products that have reached the expiry date.
In short, Best Before Date is an indication of quality , while Expiry Date indicates the safety of the food item to be consumed.
This Food Safety Month 2016, take care to keep your food and food habits safe. The campaign aims to convey the message of healthy eating and storage practices.
Learn about food safety, participate and win exciting prices from the comfort of your home!