The Guide on Date Labels for Food

The Foods Standards Agency and DEFRA have published this month a guide to end confusing date labels.

Source: Stock.xchng

With the guide there are new “Voluntary” guidelines which will help shoppers know when the food is at its best and how long they can keep it for.

The enforcement agency has asked for “sell by” and “display until” to be removed and other forms of stock control to be used.

There should only be 2 types of date labels;

Use By : which are high risk products generally relating to food safety. Its illegal to change the use by date of product which has been set by the manufacturer. It is also illegal to change the form of the product of which the use by has been set for eg a use by on a chilled product can not then be frozen down.Last but not least It is illegal to sell a product after its Use By date.

Best Before: Best Before dates are generally related to products where if they are eaten past there date then the issue would relating to quality and not food safety. It is not illegal to sell a product after it has gone past its best before date (although in theory you could be prosecuted under the Food Safety Act for not supplying product of the quality demanded).

The guide is available from the FSA website and we suggest that you download and read it.


About ABurne

Andy Burne has worked in Technical Management for many years in the food industry. Now he is a certified BRC auditor and provides consultancy to the Food Industry.