“Best to eat BEFORE” and “eat TO” – How to read expiration dates on packages?

What should be on the packaging and how to read the expiration dates on the labels?” What’s the difference between the terms “best to eat” and “eat to”? It’s good to know that food labeling is determined by the relevant European Union regulations.

Every food producer has the obligation to inform the end consumer about the durability of a given food product, how it is stored and how to prepare for safe consumption.” This obligation results from Regulation 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the European Council of October 25, 2011. It is important for the consumer the ability to understand the information given on the labels of food products so that their consumption is safe for health.


The durability of a food product is determined by many factors, including chemical composition, microflora, packaging method, specific storage conditions, and two different terms on product packaging.


“Please eat until …” – the so-called shelf life date The indicated date specifies the date after which the food product is unusable and therefore can not be consumed.This term can usually be found on the least durable meat products. , ready-to-eat food, chilled ready-to-eat food, milk or non-sterilized milk products. “Best before …” or “The best before the end …” – the so-called date of minimum durability, to which the product is stored correctly retains its properties Manufacturers do not have to indicate the date of minimum durability of products such as fresh fruit and vegetables, salt, solid sugar, vinegar, bakery and confectionery products, beverages with an alcoholic strength of 10% by volume and more.


Why do we store meat on the upper shelves and eggs in the fridge door?

If necessary, the label of the food product should contain information about its correct storage, so as to preserve its safety and health quality – color, taste, smell and nutritional value. Products that require refrigeration storage should be kept in the fridge – remembering However, the temperature in the fridge varies depending on the specific place, for example, raw meat and fish require lower temperatures, so it is worth placing them at the lowest level, milk, dairy products, meats, butter, and all products that, according to Manufacturer’s declaration should be kept in the fridge after opening, it should be stored on its middle or upper shelves, and in the bottom drawer of the fridge – vegetables and fruits. Eggs require little cooling, hence they are usually stored on the fridge door, and frozen food for obvious reasons goes to the freezerOther products for which the manufacturer did not specify special storage conditions should be placed outside the refrigerator – however in a relatively cold (optimally + 18 ° C), dry and dark place.If you purchase a product that has been vacuum packed or using packaging gases, it is worth paying attention to the tightness of the packaging.This type of packaging is designed to extend the shelf life of the food, and the shelf-life date in this case applies when the packaging is intact.For your own safety, the consumer should not buy products with damaged packaging.