PMM College Part 2: Best before date VERSUS use by date

Our new product information for trainees, professionals and all interested parties. This time it's all about the meaning and the difference between the best-before date (BBD) and the use-by date.

Important: The best before date is not a throwaway date! On the contrary, it is a Quality date and has applied to foodstuffs in Germany since 1981. EU-wide, the regulation has been in place since 2011. The best-before date is clearly marked on almost all food products so that consumers can easily read it.

Exceptions apply, for example, to vinegar, table salt, high-proof alcohol (more than 10 percent by volume), but also to wine, sugar in solid form and chewing gum, as well as fresh fruit, vegetables and certain baked goods.

Manufacturers use the best-before date to indicate until which date - i.e. how long - the respective foodstuff retains its product-specific properties. This concerns the appearance, smell, taste and consistency. This means that the quality characteristics described above are guaranteed by the manufacturer under the specified storage conditions.

Canned goods allow a special advantage due to their long MHD, usually for years. For example, canned goods from Paul M. Müller such as ADRIA pears or ADRIA tomatoes offer a minimum shelf life of up to 3 years from production.

In most cases, however, the food is still edible even after the best-before date has passed and should not be thrown away immediately. Instead of throwing away, the consumer should first smell and try, then decide.

This contrasts with the use-by date, which must be indicated on perishable foods such as ground meat, poultry meat or raw milk. ImportantSuch food with an exceeded use-by date may no longer be sold and should not be consumed under any circumstances.

Our expert

Max Mustermann

Expert for cans and pulses, VDD and VFED certificate Chair at the RWTH Aachen University of Technology
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