Guidance on the application of date labels to food

This guidance will help businesses to decide whether to label their food products with either a ‘best before’ or a ‘use by’ date.


Food date labelling

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Either one or the other of these dates is required by law but the choice is a technical decision by the food manufacturer. The guidance is principally a decision tree asking a series of important questions around the production of a food product from a microbiological perspective.

Although this new guidance is principally aimed at food businesses, including trade associations and similar representative groups, it will help consumers indirectly by improving the consistency of the use of the ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ date marks.  

Further information