Food labels have date marks to provide information about safe shelf life. These marks assist us to determine how long food can be safely kept for before it begins to deterioriate. All food with a shelf life of 2 years or less is required to be date marked. Date marks can be designated as either "best before" or "use by" depending upon the particular food.
1. Best Before: Foods are still safe to eat after the date as long as they have not been damaged and are not deteriorated or perished.
- The best before date simply indicates that the product may lose some of its quality after this date passes.
- Foods can still be legally sold after a best before date as long as they have not been damaged and are not deteriorated or perished.
- You can expect these foods to retain their colour, taste, texture and flavour as long as they are stored correctly.
- Common best before foods include canned foods, cereals, frozen foods and sauces. All of Naturally Sweet's products are labelled with a best before date.
2. Use By: Foods must be eaten or thrown away by the date.
- After this date foods may be unsafe to eat even if they look fine because the nutrients in the food may become unstable or a build-up of bacteria may occur.
- It is illegal to sell foods after a use by date.
- Common use by foods include milk, fresh meats, seafood and salads.