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Revision of EU rules on date marking - ‘use by’ and ‘best before’

Mar 14, 2022

As a part of the "From Farm to Fork" strategy, the European Commission proposes to revise the rules on date marking - "use by" and "best before" – to avoid unnecessary discarding of food.

The difference between the date markings and detailed guidelines for their use are set in Annex X to the EU Regulation No 1169/2011, on the provision of food information to consumers.

EU-wide surveys have shown that European consumers are not entirely clear about the meaning of these data labels. In simple terms, the ‘use by’ date on food is about safety – foods can be eaten until this date but not after, even if they look and smell fine. The ‘best before’ date refers to quality – the food is safe to eat after this date, but its flavour and texture might not be as good. Food past its ‘best before‘ date can be placed on the market only if not harmful to health and only if marked as expired. The seller assumes responsibility for the product’s safety.

ALS laboratories provide food producers and retailers with a comprehensive and convenient solution for shelf-life determination. This area includes setting the correct date marking for the labelling purposes as well as verification of the assumption of the shelf life in case of a change in recipe or in the production process. When working with ALS, you can expect:

  • professional advice on the testing plan according to the nature of the product, their frequency and frequency,
  • evaluation of the results regarding legislative requirements,
  • sensory assessment at the end of the shelf life,
  • storage under defined conditions,
  • photo documentation of the sample,
  • a comprehensive report assessing the suitability of the proposed date marking,
  • sample analyses 7 days a week,
  • user-friendly transport,
  • online system (WebTrieve) ensuring real time access to the results.

For more details on individual analyses, contact our client service at +420 226 226 998 or