Cutting the confusion … use-by versus best before dates


Have you ever wondered what the difference is between the use-by and best before dates on your product packaging? We don’t blame you; it can get a little confusing.

Let’s break it down.

Foods that MUST be eaten before a certain time for health or safety reasons should be marked with a use-by date. These foods shouldn’t be consumed after this use-by date and can’t legally be sold after this date because they may pose a health or safety risk.

Most foods on the shelf have a best-before date, you can still eat these foods for a while after the best-before date as they should be safe if they have been stored correctly (you’ll find this information on the product label). Foods that have a best-before date can legally be sold after that date provided the food is fit for human consumption.

What about bread? The only food that can have a different date mark on it is bread, which can be labelled with a baked-on or baked-for date if its shelf life is less than seven days.


**information adapted from

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