Best Before Date vs. Expiry Date: Do You Know The Difference?

March 24, 2019


Prepackaged foods at grocery stores must have a date stamp on them, but while some products have a best before date, others have an expiry date.

A best before date is required on foods that have a shelf life of 90 days or less and indicates freshness. According to a food technologist Gary Sandberg, many foods are actually safe to eat past the best before date, as the only thing that is compromised is the freshness of the product.

“The biggest issue is that if you’re paying full price for something that has an inferior quality, that’s where the challenge comes in,” Sandberg said.

On the other hand, an expiry date is found on prepackaged foods, such as baby formula or nutritional supplements, and points to the date after which the foods lose their nutritional value.

Although foods past the expiry date should not be consumed, foods past the best before date are safe to eat, provided that their packaging has not been opened.

Products that are safe to eat after the best before date include ketchup, pasta and cheese, but avoiding those wouldn’t be a mistake either. Fresh foods contain more healthy nutrients and are definitely more beneficial than any other foods.