Best Before, Use by and Expiry, do they all mean the same?

Most of the times, we must have wondered if all the above terms mean the same. But why mention them as different?

All the terms mentioned above are entirely different from each other but related to the same purpose and here’s why:-


  • Those products with shelf life up to 15 days and below

  • Milk and milk products, sweets, pastries/ cakes, breads, eggs, raw meat and chicken, fish and fish products.

  • Mentioned as “use by date” along with the time from the date of production/manufacturing and time.

  • Such minute précised details given so that the consumers are aware of the severe cases when these products are consumed beyond its validity

  • Product has to be consumed within the mentioned date and time to prevent severe foodborne illness

Use by date mentioned with date and time

(Images from Google)


  • The term now becomes easier to differentiate. Any product with shelf life above 15 days.

  • Differentiated in two ways to easily identify the products with shelf life until 3 months and those above 3 months

  • Products with shelf life up to 3 months will be mentioned in this format “Best before DD/MM/YYYY”

  • Products with a shelf life beyond 3 months will be mentioned in this format “ Best before 5 months from the month/date of packaging/ manufacturing”

  • As the name suggests “Best Before”, the product will be at its best condition until the mentioned usage date. After its validity, the product slowly starts to deteriorate.

Product Validity up to 6 months best Before mentioned for products with validity within 3 months (Image from Kase Cheese, Chennai)


  • The term is very rarely used in food products.

  • Most importantly used in medicines, cosmetics and other things related

  • It is used in heavily preserved long term products like canned food, vacuum-packed food, pickled products that have a longer shelf life beyond nine months.

#Foodsafetyawareness #Foodlabel #Labelling #Productvalidity

#Food #FoodAndDrink #FoodLabels #ExpiryDate #FoodSafety

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