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Best Before Dates

"Best Before" & "Use By" dates explained. 

Food labelling clarification by the NHS, UK regarding Best Before dates on products.

"Best Before" dates are about quality, not safety. When the date is passed, it doesn't mean that the food will be harmful, but it might begin to lose some of its flavour and texture.

Best before

Best before dates are an indicative guide of when the quality of food or drink will start to change. They are not to do with safety. Food that has passed its best before date is safe to eat.
Best before should be considered a rough guide rather than a strict rule. There is no reason to throw away food that goes past its best before date, it is perfectly safe to eat and will often taste just as good.  

Use by

Use by dates relate to the safety of the food. You shouldn't eat food that has gone past its use-by date as it may be unsafe.

Legal obligations

Food producers and manufacturers have a legal obligation to include either a best before or use-by date on their food.

Supermarkets and retailers can legally sell produce that has passed its best before date, but cannot sell food that has passed its use by date since use by is related to safety rather than quality. :Article excerpts from Approved Food: