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Learn how to read expiry dates

Jan 27, 2023

By LivGood Team

Learn how to read expiry dates

Expiration dates are simply a measure of the last day a manufacturer will vouch for a food's quality, not a measure of its safety. Now that you're informed, you can stop throwing away food to help you cut down on waste and save money.

We’ll let you know the different denominations that are used, but always use your senses and best judgement when determining if a food is good to eat, they will tell you more than the "Use-By" date on the package.

Use by

When the product indicates that it should be consumed by a specific date, you should not consume it when this date has passed as it may present risks to your health.

Some examples are: fresh meat and fish, pasteurised milk and dairy products.

Best before (day/month/year)

When the date of minimum durability includes the day, month and year.

This is a maximum quality guarantee period. If this is exceeded and the storage conditions are respected (as indicated on the packaging) you can consume the product if it passes the safety test for texture, colour, taste and smell.

Some examples are: cereals, biscuits, pasta, tea and coffee

Best before (month/year)

When the date of minimum durability only includes the month and year.

As in the previous case, the product can be consumed after the expiry date if its texture remains similar, as well as its colour, taste and smell.

Some examples are: canned food, frozen food, olive oil, among others

Products without an expiry date

There are several foods for which the expiry date is not compulsory. 

Some examples are: salt, sugar, wine and vinegar - because they have very long conservation states or pastry/ bakery products - because they should ideally be consumed within 24 hours after manufacture.


10 ingredients that can be consumed after their expiry date

1. Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil

Extra-virgin or virgin coconut oil is high in saturated fat, so it can last an indefinite amount of time.

2. Honey

It may get grainy, hard, or change color, but its properties protect the taste and keep it from spoiling. 

3. Canned Vegetables

Canned vegetables usually last 1-3 years beyond the date mentioned on the can. But how can you tell if a can has gone bad? Check for rust, dents or swelling to let you know if it's time to toss it.

4. Packaged Bagels & Breads

Preservatives in packaged bagels and bread allow them to last 1-2 weeks beyond the "use buy" date if refrigerated. They can last up to 6 months in the freezer.

5. Dry Rice & Pasta

Dried pasta can last for 1-2 years whereas dry rice is good for 4-5 years. 

6. Condiments & Soy Sauce

Can last 6 months-1 year, which is typically much longer than the expiration date. 

7. Dried Fruits

Dried fruits, one of our long shelf-life foods, take about 1-2 years to expire. Want to keep them tasting optimal for longer? Pop them in the freezer.

 8. White Vinegar

It's self-preserving, and its shelf life is "almost indefinite," according to the Vinegar Institute.

9. Salt

When stored in a cool, dry place, it remains fresh indefinitely. The only exception to the rule is iodized salt, which only lasts for about 5 years.

10. Cornstarch

When stored in a cool and dry area, the thickener is safe to eat indefinitely.