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Do 'Best used by dates' really matter?


tybeegb
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We have two shelves on the ground level WofTy uses as a pantry.  I did not prepare properly last October and found all kinds of crap floating around after that hurricane went by and flooded that level.  This time I made a platform that's four feet off the floor to put stuff on.  As I am taking the canned food out I start looking at the dates, which I did not do when I put them back last year.  Nearly 50% of the canned food is from one to five years out of the 'Best used by' date. 

I confront WofTy.  She says "They were on sale."   :angry:

As soon as this storm goes by, and before Jose shows up, I will be drinking my stash of PBR.  And I still have ice cream to eat.  :runcirclsmiley:

Oh.  I did not leave because WofTy refused to go.  So I manned up and stocked up on PBR and ice cream.  So there.

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Did you know.. Diet soda's have expiration dates?  Neither did I until a few years ago. 

Here is what Canada's government has to say about this.

"Best-before" date

A "best-before" date, also known as a durable life date, tells you when the durable life period of a prepackaged food ends.

Durable life means the anticipated amount of time that an unopened food product, when stored under appropriate conditions, will retain its:

  • freshness,
  • taste,
  • nutritional value, or
  • any other qualities claimed by the manufacturer.

This information is usually found on the label with the words "best before" and "meilleur avant".

The best-before date indicates to consumers that if the product has been properly handled (stored under conditions appropriate to that product), the unopened product should be of high quality until the specified date.

Best-before dates do not guarantee product safety. However, they do give you information about the freshness and potential shelf-life of the unopened foods you are buying.

It is important to note that a best-before date is not the same as an expiration date.

Packaging dates

"Packaged on" dates are similar to "best-before" date but are used on retail-packed foods with a durable life date of 90 days or less, and must be accompanied by durable life information either on the label or on a poster next to the food. The durable life information can be expressed several ways, for example, the number of days a product will retain its freshness, or a best-before date. Together, the "packaged on" date and durable life information tell consumers about the anticipated amount of time that an unopened food product will retain its quality and freshness.

Expiration date

An expiration date is not the same as a best-before date. Expiration dates are required only on certain foods that have strict compositional and nutritional specifications which might not be met after the expiration date.

Expiration dates must be used on the following products:

  • formulated liquid diets (nutritionally complete diets for people using oral or tube feeding methods)
  • foods represented for use in a very low-energy diet (foods sold only by a pharmacist and only with a written order from a physician)
  • meal replacements (formulated food that, by itself, can replace one or more daily meals)
  • nutritional supplements (food sold or represented as a supplement to a diet that may be inadequate in energy and essential nutrients)
  • human milk substitutes (infant formula)

After the expiration date, the food may not have the same nutrient content declared as on the label.

Food should not be bought, sold or eaten if the expiration date has passed. It should be discarded.

Other date markings

The Food and Drug Regulations state the terms "use by" and "employez avant" may replace "best before" for prepackaged fresh yeast only. It must be presented in the same form and manner as the best-before date.

Other voluntary date marking systems may be useful to consumers. These may appear on food products as long as they are not misleading and the label meets appropriate requirements. These include:

  • "sell by" dates
  • "prepared on" dates
  • "freeze by" dates
  • "manufactured on" dates

What foods do best-before dates appear on?

Foods that will keep fresh for 90 days or less, and are packaged at a place other than the retail store, from which they are sold, must have the following on the label:

  • a best-before date, and
  • proper storage instructions (if different from normal room temperature).

Foods that will keep fresh for 90 days or less, and are packaged at the retail store, from which they are sold, may be labelled with either:

  • a best-before date and storage instructions, or
  • a "packaged on" date with accompanying information about the durable life of the food (such as the number of days a product will retain its freshness) on the label or on a poster next to the food.

If consumers want more information about food packaged at the retail store, such as the "packaged on" date, they can ask the retailer for this information.

Who determines the durable life?

It is the responsibility of the manufacturer or retailer to determine:

  • if the product has a durable life of 90 days or less, and
  • the specific durable life information for the products they sell.

Food producers and retailers that manufacture food products base the date on how long an unopened product will retain its wholesomeness, taste, nutritional value, and any other qualities, as well as other factors such as the type of product, how it is processed and how it is packaged and stored.

The durable life of products or categories is not set out in regulations.

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15 minutes ago, Longjohn said:

Diet soda breaks down into formaldehyde over time. My opinion is it's going to kill you anyway so what's the difference?

My mother-in-law used to stock up on Diet Dew for me. I really like it, but I only visited so often and could only drink so much. Then one time I realized the can of soda I was drinking was kinda icky. I checked the date, and it was two years past. WTH?? Then I looked at her stock of Diet Dew. ohhhhhhhh...... I can stand it up to about a year past date, but that's about it.

As for other canned goods, I have no qualms with a year past date. After that and up to 2 years, I check it first. More than 2, bye bye now.

@tybeegb I love your rebellion and stocking up on beer and ice cream. You are obviously a wise man.

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