USE BY DATE / BEST BEFORE DATE – WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
As I have been talking about reading the labels on food, I thought I would do a couple of posts about how to actually read them.
Today we will look at the difference between the dates printed on food packaging.
USE BY DATE: this is put on highly perishable food such as milk, yoghurt, meat packed in the supermarket. Shops cannot sell this food after this date. Even though it might not have signs of being off (visible mould or it smells) you should not eat it after this date. The photo of Keffir has a Use By Date.
BEST BEFORE DATE: this is generally on long shelf life foods, the type of things you might keep in the cupboard such as cereals, biscuits, tinned foods. You can eat food after the Best Before Date, but its quality will have begun to decline. The tin of chickpeas has a Best Before Date.
BAKED ON DATE: this may appear on baked goods such as bread products, instore cooked biscuits or cakes and shows you how fresh they are.
Date marking only refers to food which is unopened. There should be instructions on how to store and use the food once it is opened. For example the Keffir bottle says that it needs to be consumed within 7 days of opening whilst the chickpeas are to be consumed within 3 days of opening, put in a non metallic container and to be kept in the fridge.
STORAGE is also important. As you can see the Keffir is to be kept in the fridge from the beginning, but the chickpeas can be kept in a cupboard until opened, when they also have to be kept in the fridge.
Next time I will post about reading the Nutrition Information Panel.