“Food safe to eat after best before date”

The Federal Food Safety Agency FAVV used a round-robin letter to reiterate that food that is past its best before date is not necessarily unfit for human consumption. The letter has been sent to food banks and some other charities. Its contents are also relevant to ordinary domestic consumers.

FAVV once again seeks to make it clear that there are two types of sell by dates: “best before” and “use before”. “Use before” is linked to food safety and is used on very perishable goods such as fresh meat or fish. Consumption of produce after the “use before” date could bring with it risks to the consumers’ health.

Meanwhile, the “best before” date is linked to quality control issues. Up until the best before date, the manufacturer guarantees a safe and qualitative product. Although this guarantee expires once the best before date has passed, this doesn’t mean that the product is a danger to public health.

Examples of products with best before dates are rice, pasta and biscuits. Some can remain safe to eat more than a year after their best before date has expired.

FAVV stresses that it is important that consumers use their common sense. “Check that the packaging is closed correctly and that the product still smells and tastes good.”