What's the difference between best before and use by/expiry dates?
What's in a date? It can be confusing to know the difference between best before and use by/expiry dates stamped on food items. We break down what each one means and give you a great tip on how you can save money by utilising one of these dates.
Dates stamped/marked on food packaging indicates how long that product can be kept before it starts to deteriorate or becomes unsafe to consume - essentially the shelf life. NSW food authority rules say that anything with a shelf life less than 2 years must have dates marked on the packaging. The difference between each type of date marking is below:
Best before: Items marked with a best before can still legally be sold after the date marked as long as it is unopened, isn't damaged or deteriorated and has been stored properly. The date means that the product may just lose some of its quality after this date.
Use by/expiry: Essentially these two terms mean the same thing but different companies use either term. These dates are the most important to take into account before consuming the product. It's the date which you SHOULD NOT consume the item even if it smells and/or looks ok. It must be eaten by that date or throw it away.
If it's a date with just the year and month: This is probably the most confusing out of the date markings. If you see a date with just the year and month, it means you must consume by the last day of that month if it has a use by/expiry date; or is best consumed by the last day of that month if it has a best before date. Eg. 'Expiry: 2022 May' or '2022.5' means you must consume by 31 May 2022. You'll find in general our Japanese products have this type of date marking.
TOP TIP: Often stores and supermarkets mark down items that are nearing their best before and expiry dates. If you're a bargain hunter like we are or have a budget to stick to, look out for items with BEST BEFORE dates that are marked down. You get to snap up your favourite item at a discounted price or why not try something new - you never know, it may just become your new favourite food! Check out our specials page - we have new items added all the time.
At Just Go Shop, we like to look after our loyal customers and also don't like food to go to waste. We like to randomly add in items that are nearing their best before dates into parcels - you never know, you may just find a surprise in your next parcel!*
IMPORTANT NOTE - It is up to you to check the dates on the package before opening the item. Even if it is before the date marked, if it looks, feels or smells off please do not consume it.
*These will be placed at random and at our own discretion.