The best-before date indicates to consumers that if the product has been properly handled (stored under conditions appropriate to that product), the unopened product should be of high quality until the specified date. However, they do give you information about the freshness and potential shelf-life of the unopened foods you are buying.
It is important to note that a best-before date is not the same as an expiration date.
These dates are typically followed by labels, such as “use-by”, “sell-by”, or “pull-by”.
Use-by dates are intended for consumers and indicate when a product will start to deteriorate, while the latter two are for grocery stores to know how long to keep products displayed on the shelves.
Canned products include a packing code (a series of numbers and/or letters) that enables tracking of a product for interstate commerce. This type of dating allows manufacturers to rotate their stock and to locate products in the event of a recall.
These dates are NOT meant for consumers to interpret as “Use-By” dates.
If you freeze a perishable item, it doesn’t matter what date is stamped on the product, because foods kept frozen are safe indefinitely.There are two types of expiration codes on products.The first is open dating, which uses a standard time or calendar date.Currently, the United States does not have a regulated or standard system for coding expiration dates on food, except for those on baby food and infant formula.All other dates and codes are added voluntarily by manufacturers.