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“Use by” or “Best before”?


published on 17 March 2021 | reading time approx. 1 minute

EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) at the end of 2020 has provided recommendations for food business operators regarding applying the 'use by' or 'best before' date to their products.




The recommendations explain the data 'Use by' more refers to food safety. The product can be eaten exactly untill that date provided on the package, but not after, even if it looks and smells well. However, the data 'Best before' is more about food quality. The product can be safely eaten even after this date but its appearance may differ from the initial one.


Food business operators by using these data in a right way, will help consumers understand when the food can no longer be eaten and when it still might be of good quality. The European Commission estimates that up to 10 percent of food waste generated annually in the EU is linked to date marking on food products. Clear and correct information on packaging and a better understanding and use of date marking on food is expected to reduce huge amount of food waste in the EU, while continuing to ensure food safety.


It is curious, how serious food producers take into account the usage of these two terms? Whether they always apply to recommended and confirmed shelf life determination methodologies? The EFSA recommendations could certainly answer and help on many questions raised either by consumers or producers.


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