What does best before date mean?
The best-before date (BBD) is a specified labeling element that must be indicated on prepackaged products. It indicates the date up to which a food product can be consumed without any loss of taste or health risk if stored correctly. With the best before date, the product can usually be consumed even after the specified date.
The BBD also plays a major role in logistics. This is because when storing foodstuffs, for example, the first-expired-first-out (FEFO) principle must be observed to ensure that the best-before date is not exceeded.
The manufacturer can determine the best before date himself and so similar products from different manufacturers can have a different best before date.
If a best before date is indicated, this must be marked with the phrase "best before ...". Furthermore, the day, month and year must be specified. If the best before date is not shown in conjunction with the phrase, this must be labeled and noted in other locations such as see bottom, neck of bottle or lid.
In addition, deviations like these can occur:
- If the minimum shelf life is not more than three months, the year may be omitted.
- If the minimum shelf life is more than three months, the day may be omitted.
- If the best-before date is more than 18 months, then the best-before date must be presented with the phrase "best before end of ...".