Topic One: Food – Best Before vs Expiry Dates…What’s the difference?
A good place to start when organizing your kitchen is with the edible items. Easy enough…right? Well, not always. Yes, getting rid of that box of crackers that has been open since last Christmas or the box of cereal with nothing but dust left might be a no brainer, but what about those items that have never been opened or you only need 1 tbs of? Sure, you can check expiry dates or best before dates…BUT what do they really mean? Do you have to throw them out? First, what is the difference between a “ Best Before Date” and an “Expiry Date”? The Canadian Institute of Food Safety says a Best Before Date is defined as a date that; “states when the durable life period of the food ends”. Durable life is “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” A best before date is also not applicable once the package has been opened. Best before dates do not guarantee that a food product is safe to eat. So, what is an Expiry Date? First, an expiry date is required on any foods that have a specific nutritional composition that could falter after the determined expiration date. Examples of such foods are formulated liquid diets, foods sold by pharmacists, meal replacements, nutritional supplements and infant formula. The Canadian Food Inspection agency advises that if food has passed its expiration date it should be discarded.
Whether we are physically helping you with your kitchen organization or you are taking on the challenge yourself, the best before dates and the expiry dates are always a good place to start. However, don’t forget to ask yourself “is anybody really going to eat this?” If the dates are still good, consider donating it to the food banks or offering it on FaceBook groups that have people in need or cook.
Click below for our “cheat sheet” on how long spices are good for and what to look for freshness.