Health & Lifestyle

Understanding the Best Before and Use-By Dates on Food Labels

Date Expires


The supplement market in the UK has grown tremendously over the years, with more people seeking to supplement their diets with nutrients that may be lacking in their regular meals. However, as consumers, it’s essential to be mindful of the best before and use-by dates on food labels to ensure that the supplements remain safe and effective for consumption.

The best before and use-by dates are important indicators of food safety and quality. The two labels are not interchangeable and have different meanings. The best before date indicates the date by which the food is likely to retain its quality, such as flavor, texture, and appearance. After this date, the quality of the product may start to deteriorate, but it’s still safe to consume.

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On the other hand, the use-by date is an indication of the safety of the product. Consuming food after this date can pose health risks, as harmful bacteria may have developed, leading to food poisoning. The use-by date is commonly used for perishable foods that have a higher risk of bacterial growth, such as meat, dairy, and seafood.

It’s crucial to understand the difference between the two labels to minimize food waste and reduce the risk of food poisoning. Consuming food that has passed its recommended storage duration or kept under unfavorable temperature conditions may expose one to harmful bacteria, leading to food poisoning.

It’s also essential to store supplements and other food products correctly to maximize their shelf life. Supplements should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, heat, and moisture. Storing supplements in the refrigerator or freezer may extend their shelf life, but it’s essential to check the label for storage recommendations.

In conclusion, understanding the best before and use-by dates on food labels is crucial in ensuring food safety and minimizing food waste. It’s important to consume food products before the use-by date and use supplements before the best before date for optimal effectiveness. Storing supplements and other food products correctly can also extend their shelf life and ensure they remain safe for consumption. Always check the Use-By Date before making a purchase to avoid wastage and potentially harmful consumption.

1. “Use-by and best before dates.” Food Standards Agency.

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  4. “How to Store Supplements: Tips for Keeping Them Safe and Potent.” Healthline.