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Best Before Date vs. Expiry Date

Obi Egbuonye3

 by Pharm. Obi Egbuonye (guest blogger)

The “best before” date is often mistaken by consumers to be the same as the ‘ “expiry date”’.

This explains why most of the time, foods that may have passed its ‘best before’ date go straight in the trash. Although such foods would have still been completely edible. So then if the ‘best before date’ is different from the expiration date;

  • What does it all mean?
  • Why is it that some products do not have ‘best before’ date?
  • How can this help avoid food wastage?
  • What lies behind the ‘best-before date’?

Now, here’s the message — The ‘best before’ date guarantees certain properties of the product to be effective up to this point (date stated on the product). Thus the product retains its quality anytime before this date. Once the date has passed, it may just lose its freshness, taste, aroma or nutrients. But it does not necessarily mean that the food is no longer safe to eat. In order to decide whether the food is still edible, one should rely on his/her other basic sense organs such as the ones for taste,smell etc. The product should not be consumed if you find that the taste has been compromised, odour and appearance is odd or it’s exhibiting strange consistency. It is also worthy of note that this only applies to unopened shelf-stable product. Once a sealed product is exposed to air it is prone to contamination. Thus, the ‘best before’ date principle no longer applies to it.

So is there any difference between ‘best before’ date and expiry date?

Expiration dates tell consumers the last day a product is safe to consume while ‘Best before date’ on the other hand tells you the day after which the food is no longer in its perfect shape or make-up. It may just lose its freshness, taste, aroma or nutrients. It does not necessarily mean that the food is no longer safe to eat. Best before date is basically regarded as a quality indicator.

Another term that gets mixed up with this is the ‘Use by’ date which applies only to perishable goods such as fresh fish or meat.It is advisable to dispose them off immediately once they have passed the ‘use by’ date!

Obi Egbuonye is a registered Pharmacist and CEO Nearexpiry Ltd; the owners of the mobile app, Nearexpirydeals

About this app

Nearexpirydeals app is an exceptional initiative that clearly goes way beyond a commercial app to a major social enterprise that has the potential to reduce hunger,minimise wastage, increase access to food, create jobs, save lives, reduce the incidence of poisoning from expired items..Its an app that provides a platform for buyers to meet with sellers on everything, shortdate! ONLY.

Nearexpirydeals has been classed as an Attitude of Quality, Safety, Cost Reduction and Loss Management. Adopt the nearexpirydeals attitude today by downloading the app.


  • Thanks for the explanation. I personally end up mixing up the meaning most times. With this explanation I’m sure it won’t happen again.
    I’m a regular user of the NEAREXPIRYDEALS apps . It has really been helpful and I recommend it to every family. Kudos to the NEAREXPIRY family.

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