What is the meaning and difference between Expiry Date, Shelf Life, and Use by Date?

What is the meaning and difference between Expiry Date, Shelf Life, and Use by Date?

Every product you know has its manufacturing date, expiry date, shelf life, and use-by date. Without these, it isn't easy to trust any product, especially the edible ones. It is important to understand the product's quality and durability with the use limit and expiry dates. It can be hazardous if people consume expired food which even leads to food poisoning or other health issues in some cases. Other than edibles if you are using electrical appliances with no authorized mark such as ISI then it can be dangerous too. And, when it comes to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics one has to be utmost careful. If by mistake you consume expired medicines it can be life threatening. Coming to cosmetics if you apply expired cosmetics it can lead to multiple side effects. Food or edible items come with the ''used by'' date mentioned on the packet, which indicates the freshness and durability of the perishable food items such as bakery, dairy products, some instant food, and premixes. These dates must be mentioned on edible items for safety purposes to avoid any health hazards.

What is an expiry date? 

The expiry date confirms the last use of the products from the manufacturing date by the company. After that, you don't have a guarantee for food safety. The term expiry date means the time limit beyond which the product, even if stored in the original packaging can lead to expiry with some chemical changes may happen.

What is Shelf Life?

Shelf life refers to the period during which a product remains usable, fit for consumption or saleable under specific storage conditions. Under this condition, the product can still be used and consumed. Food, beverages and cosmetics fall under this period. A good shelf life depends on the kind of storage, packaging, product quality, and conditions.

What is Used by Date?

This term can be easily seen in milk, curd, buttermilk pouches, and ready-to-eat meals. bread slices/loaf packets, and other perishable food items. These packaged food items have a short shelf life. The used-by date indicates the last date recommended for the consumption of a perishable product to ensure safety and quantity. Hence, you should avoid using those products after the date is covered.

Why is it important to check the Expiry Date, Shelf Life, and Use by Date?

It is of utmost importance to check the expiry date, shelf life, and use-by date of any product to avoid possible threats. By checking these necessary dates one can ensure safety, efficiency, and quality. These dates help consumers avoid using products that may no longer be effective or safe, preventing potential health risks such as food poisoning or reduced medication effectiveness. Also, it helps maintain the product's intended performance and reliability. The mentioned expiry shelf life, and use-by dates also provide essential information regarding appropriate usage.

The Must Follow Food Guideline in India -

These dates must be mentioned on edible items for safety purposes to avoid any health hazards.  The food products in India must comply with the Food Safety Standards ( Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011. The Food Labelling Association in India are governed by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The association mandates all pre-packed food products must display essential information, including the name of the food and, a list of ingredients. symbol of vegetarian or non-vegetarian, manufacturing details, Also, labelling must include the net quantity, batch or code number, best before, and county of origin.

In conclusion, tracking expiry date, shelf life, and used-by date is necessary for viability and self-safety. It is always important to check all these specific dates before you buy any product. This ensures the cleanliness and freshness of the food. Thus, always consider checking these dates is essential to avoid health risks such as food poisoning, ineffective medications, and adverse reactions from expired cosmetics, ensuring the product's safety, efficiency, and reliability.


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