What’s the difference between the best-before and the use-by dates?
The best-before date (or minimum shelf life date) is the date until when, at the latest, an unopened and correctly stored food item must retain its specific properties, such as taste, smell, colour, consistency and nutritional value. This means that it is not an expiry date, but merely a manufacturer’s warranty for specific quality characteristics.
The use-by or expiry date applies to perishable foods which may become an immediate health hazard after a short period of time. This date is the last day by which a food item should be eaten. The words “Use by” must be followed directly by the relevant day, month and (where appropriate) year or by some specification where the date can be found on the package.
Huge demand for information
Whereas in Germany only nine per cent believe that food becomes inedible after the best-before date, this view is held by as many as 54 per cent in Greece.
But there’s no need for complacency. 42 per cent of Germans expressed the view that products are still OK to eat after the user-by date.
www.zeit.de (german content)
Haltbar, abgelaufen, ungenießbar (german content)
Amtsblatt der Europäischen Gemeinschaften (german)
Richtlinie des Europäischen Parlaments
Sell By? Use By? Best By?
www.welt.de (german content)
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