Best before vs Use by Dates
Best before and Use by dates are two dates which are meant for shelf life of a specific product. Shelf life is referred to the time that a drink, food, medicine or any other perishable packed product is given before these items are thought not to be suitable for selling, consumption or their usage in any way. At a few regions, ‘Best Before’ or ‘Use-By’ time period is needed to be put on such packages. This is recommendation time till which the products are safe for storage and their quality isn’t affected.
What does ‘Best before’ mean?
Best Before is the date which appears on a variety of food products that are tinned, dried or processed. The dates can be taken as advice dates and they are related to products’ quality once the Use By date has passed. Once this date has passed, the food isn’t safe for consumption. However, one third of the food purchased through the markets is wasted at a time when it is still edible. In fact, the food which is kept after the ‘Best Before’ date has passed doesn’t actually mean that it is harmful for eating. However, it may start to lose the optimum flavor and texture which it has at a time prior to that date. Eggs are special case, as they eating them should be avoided over the ‘Best Before’ date. The eggs have salmonella in them, Salmonella increases a number of times and after the ‘Best Before’ date, it should not be eaten. The time period for the eggs is 28 days at highest which means that such eggs should be sold before 21 days have passed since they were laid. Seven days prior to their Best Before date, the eggs should be sold to all consumers and should be disposed off if they can’t be sold before that time. The process of packing sometimes involves the usage of labels that are previously printed which makes it difficult to write the ‘Best Before’ date at a location where it is easily viewable. In such case, the usage of ‘See Bottom for Best Before’ has been seen which is printed on label and date is provided at a different location as printed on that label.
What does ‘Use by’ mean?
The Foods with a ‘Use By’ date written on the packaging should not be eaten after the date which has been specified passes. The reason behind this is that such foods go bad quickly after the specified date. These foods can prove to be highly dangerous and injurious to health in case they have been spoiled. Storage instructions for such materials are also to be followed which is usually to keep such products refrigerated, once they have been opened. Foods with a ‘Best Before’ date are safe to be eaten even after the passage of the date. While these foods may have deteriorated in flavor, texture or nutrition, yet they are not harmful. Bathroom products and toiletries most of the times state in months by which, once the product is opened, it should be used. Such dates are indicated by graphic of an open tub with number of months written inside this tub. This means that the product should be used for the specified number of months once it has been opened.
Difference between Best before and Use by Date
The major difference between ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ dates is that the effects they have on consumption after they have crossed the specified dates. Selling these food products once the specified date has passes is a serious offense. ‘Best Before’ dates are applied to foods which will not cause food poisoning or any other harm if they are consumed some time after the date. If the food is in a satisfactory quality, it can be sold after ‘Best Before’ date. Selling eggs beyond this date is an offense however, in other cases, these foods can be sold after the specified date and have no legal standing.