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The Difference Between Use By and Best Before Dates

There is often much confusion between these two terms. While both use by and best before dates function similarly in that they give indications about when food is and isn’t safe to consume, their functions do differ. To clear up any confusion, here are the key differences between use by and best before dates.

 

Best before dates


Best before dates are generally displayed on food products that do not require refrigeration or freezing, such as dry pasta, bread, fruit and vegetables, tinned products and uncooked rice. The length of a product’s best before varies greatly between different foods. For example, bread usually lasts no more than a week, while tinned products can last for many years.

The way in which your store best before food item can also increase or decrease their best before date. For example, most foods are best kept in a cold, dry place, with reduced air exposure. This is best achieved by storing in a pantry in the product’s original packaging. You can even refrigerate some best before products, such as fruit and vegetables to expand their lifespan.
 

Use by dates


Use by dates are typically found on high-risk foods or fresh produce which require refrigeration. This includes: fish, meat, poultry and dairy products. Eating foods that are past their use by date is dangerous and can put you at risk of food poisoning, even if they still appear or smell okay.

Foods labelled with a use-by date should be checked daily to make sure they are still safe to eat, especially in commercial kitchens, where health and safety is essential. It is possible to freeze food before its use by date to extend its life, but once defrosted, you must eat the food within 24 hours. You should never freeze food after its use by date.

One of the best ways to increase the shelf life of fresh produce is by regularly cleaning and monitoring your cold room. At EnviroChill, we specialise in cold room cleaning and cold room protect and monitor services. With our cold room cleaning, you can reduce mould, ethylene and bacteria and drastically increase the shelf life of your produce.

Based in Brisbane, our team services cafes and restaurants in all surrounding suburbs and areas. For more information about or cold room cleaning and monitoring, call us today.

Meta description: Want to increase the shelf life of your foods? At EnviroChill, we specialise in cold room cleaning, as well as protect and monitor services for commercial cold rooms. Based in Brisbane, our team services cafes and restaurants in all surrounding suburbs and areas. For more information, call 0415 168 729.