Chapter Two: Doc, what is the difference between úse by’date and ‘best before’date?

There are some foods that must be consumed within a certain period for safety reasons. These foods have a ‘use by’ date. This means foods with a ‘use by’ date label should not be sold or eaten after the indicated date. I personally do not recommend buying foods sold with one month before the ‘use by’ date. Foods with at least three to six months before the ‘use by’ date can be consumed.

Foods that are sold on specials are either approaching the ‘use by’ date or passed the ‘use by’ date. Make sure to check the ‘use by’ date before deciding to buy the product. Foods with ‘best before’ dates lose some quality (but not all) after the date shown. These foods can be sold after the ‘best before’ date. However, they must be fit for human consumption.

I personally recommend not to buy foods sold with ‘best before’ dates over one month. At least one to two weeks past the ‘best before’ date may still be fit for consumption. However, makes sure to check the container for anything that might suggest contamination, for example, dents, any bulging, cracks or tears in packets. Foods sold on specials are either approaching the ‘best before’ date or passed the ‘best before’ date. Make sure to check the packet or container properly before buying the product.


About rodney itaki

I am a medical doctor from Papua New Guinea. My posts focuses on current and emerging health issues in PNG.
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