Food & Drink

What does the BEST BEFORE date mean/imply?

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  • Apr 28th, 2007 3:42 am
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Deal Addict
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Sep 11, 2005
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What does the BEST BEFORE date mean/imply?

Recently went to make myself a wrap and noticed the "best before" date on the bag after I finished preparing it. It was 5 days behind. I was not going to waste the Montreal Smoked Meat which resided therein along side other fixings and decided to eat it anyway. I am happy to report that I am still among you.

So question: is the best before date just a suggestion which indicates that should the product be consumed before said date it would taste best thus implying that consumption after said date would taste not so good but still acceptable, OR, is there a health hazard consuming goods which have passed their best before date. In such a case should food not come with big bold warnings along the line of: Do NOT eat after so and so date. Best before implies several comparative levels (ie: good,better,best). Anybody else feel this may be misleading or at least confusing a bit?
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Nov 28, 2004
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http://www.foodsafetynetwork.ca/en/arti ... 291&id=586
What do the dates on food labels mean?
The durable life of food products is defined by the Canadian Food and Drug Regulations as the amount of time, starting on the day a food is packaged, that the unopened food will retain its normal wholesomeness, palatability and nutritional value, when stored under appropriate conditions. Manufacturers and retailers must determine the durable life of foods they manufacture and sell. Dating information indicates quality not food safety.
Any pre-packaged food product having a durable life of 90 days or less must have a durable life date on the label and instructions for proper storage. The durable life date is expressed on food labels as the "best before" date. To find the durable life information on a food product look for the statement "best before" coupled with the month and date, for example, best before OC 15. It may not say "best before" if there is an explanation of the significance of the durable life date somewhere else on the label.
Deal Guru
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Sep 14, 2003
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Just because it's "best before" doesn't mean it isn't good after.

Dates mean nothing. Use your senses other than taste to determine if a food is still good. If it smells bad, is blue/gray/green, or has spores/discolorations, or has a sticky/slimy texture, toss it. Otherwise, take a little taste of it - does it taste alright? If yes, then you're good to eat it.

Really, before we had "best before" dates, we all had to use common sense - its no different now.
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Mar 27, 2003
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If you had a piece of cold cut ham.. and it had mould growth and reeked of decay but it was well within the BEST BEFORE date, would you still eat it?

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May 7, 2006
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danfromwaterloo wrote:
Apr 26th, 2007 12:21 pm
Just because it's "best before" doesn't mean it isn't good after.

Dates mean nothing. Use your senses other than taste to determine if a food is still good. If it smells bad, is blue/gray/green, or has spores/discolorations, or has a sticky/slimy texture, toss it. Otherwise, take a little taste of it - does it taste alright? If yes, then you're good to eat it.

Really, before we had "best before" dates, we all had to use common sense - its no different now.

Agreed. I think a lot of it has to due with quality control and legal issues. A best before date placed by the food manufacturer tells the consumer and the grocery store selling it how old the product is, which indicates freshness. Another reason behind it would be: say after you ate the wrap and you got sick. Then you try to sue the wrap producer, well they would tell you, you ate it after the best before date... SORRY your SOL.
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Jun 5, 2006
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It gives the consumer an idea of how long you have to use up the product before it goes bad.

From the manufacturer's standpoint, they determine the date at which a product will usually go bad, and then the "Best Before" date they show you is a date set well in advance of the product's probably expiry date to keep you safe and to cover themselves from any legal issues if something happens to you.
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Dec 23, 2003
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Come on live dangeriously!

Take that expired lumpy milk and sell it as cottage cheese. Take that moldy cheese and sell it as imported.

Where is your sense of entrepreneurial spirit? :D
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Mar 17, 2004
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Its basically the date for if you still eat it after that and you get sick, you can't sue them.
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Dec 13, 2003
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In the states they have Use by dates and Sell by dates, here we just jave best before which is really equivalent to the sell by date.
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Jul 18, 2003
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It's mainly CYA for the food manufacturers. I've eaten stuff that's over 5 years beyond the BB date without problem as canned foods can last a long time as long as the can lid remains concave.

Use common sense. Don't drink milk thats solidifying even if it's before the BB date. But some stuff can last well beyond the BB date.
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May 24, 2005
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Ajax
eelfliw wrote:
Apr 26th, 2007 5:22 pm
It's mainly CYA for the food manufacturers. I've eaten stuff that's over 5 years beyond the BB date without problem as canned foods can last a long time as long as the can lid remains concave.

Use common sense. Don't drink milk thats solidifying even if it's before the BB date. But some stuff can last well beyond the BB date.

wow 5yrs?? what food are they? i wouldn't consume the coke from a 1992 coca cola glass bottle.... it's better stay as a collectible piece...
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Mar 23, 2005
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One thing I would never use (eat) past the expiry date is pancake mix.
You can run into real problems (like turning blue and not being able to breathe properly - causing death) if you do.
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chenj16 wrote:
Apr 26th, 2007 5:34 pm
wow 5yrs?? what food are they? i wouldn't consume the coke from a 1992 coca cola glass bottle.... it's better stay as a collectible piece...
Canned tuna, SPAM etc. are fine. As long as the cans keep the vacuum.

Powdered milk is fine too. So is rice (just don't cook it).
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Jan 1, 2005
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eelfliw wrote:
Apr 28th, 2007 2:45 am
Canned tuna, SPAM etc. are fine. As long as the cans keep the vacuum.
If you believe some chefs, tuna canned in oil actually improve in flavor after a few years. Never had the patience to test it.
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