Know Your Dates!

Best before, use by, expiry date, are all numbers until you understand EXACTLY how they affect you. You might be surprised at what they actually mean.

Expiry date:

This actually tells you the date up to which the food item will maintain its physical stability, and its nutritional content (as described on the product). After this date, some of its nutritional value may change. However, it’s important to remember that this date is only for the UNOPENED food – once your food is opened, it’s “life expectancy” changes depending on its content. For example, even ultra-high tempretaure (UHT) processed milk whose expiry date may last months, only lasts 2-3 days after opening!

Expiry dates refer to the LAST SAFE DATE before your food item needs to be discarded. Even if you think it still looks good, do not take the risk of eating food that has gone past the expiry date.

Best before/ Best by:

This is pretty self explanatory as it literally means that the freshness and flavor of the item is “best before” the date mentioned. Again, once your product is open – there is no guarantee the flavor will stay the same. This date purely refers to the quality of the food, not its safety. Therefore, if a food item has passed its “best before” or “best by” date and still smells and tastes good, it might still be safe for consumption (just don’t make this a habit!)

Fresh produce works differently as they are not labeled with “dates”, so I’ll be sharing charts like the one below, with estimated “shelf life” of different foods.

Starting with fruits!



Safe Eating!


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4 thoughts on “Know Your Dates!”

  1. Great chart! I think that for fruit and veges you just need to look, touch and smell to see if its ok. With processed foods its another matter… I work in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry (and surely how they measure the expiry date of food would be similar or the same). So you set an expiry date, for example: yogurt 1 month (I’m inventing the time range). Then you put it in chambers with controlled temperatures and humidity. You take it out and analyze it once in a while. Once 1 month has passed, if its fine, and you can set the expiry for 1 month. They won’t measure for more time because its too costly,… this means that it may be fine for, say, 1 month and 3 weeks! I hope that for the food industry its as strict as it should be though and it isn’t ripping customers off nor their safety! xx

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