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Shelf life

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The shelf life is a date stamped on the packaging of certain commodities beyond which their organoleptic and nutritional qualities are not guaranteed: they may have less taste, less vitamins, a different consistency, without creating a hazard to health. Concerned commodities include groceries, coffee, canned goods, frozen foods, biscuits, drinks, etc. Their sales beyond the deadline for optimal use is not prohibited.

Best before date is indicated by the words ‘best before the’ followed by the day and the month for products with a durability of less than three months, or by the words ‘best before end’ followed by either the month and the year for products with a durability of 3 to 18 months, either alone beyond year.

Note that the wine is exempted from BBD, because aging is part of the evolution of taste. However, other products in this case are subjected to BBD, particularly cheese, despite the cheese ripening phenomenon.

There are networks of stores specializing in the sale of food which is close to the BBD or exceeded. Sometimes it’s the humanitarian organizations that collect these free products in partnership with major retailers.

It must not be confused with the use-by date.

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