Distinction between expiry date and best before date

Madras High Court while dismissing a writ petition of Certiorari and Mandamus, observed that, there is a clear distinction between the term expiry date and the best before date, whereas, the best before date signifies the duration for which the product shall remain marketable and retain its specific qualities if stored in appropriate conditions and on the other hand, “expiry date” is the date on which the product shall completely cease to have the specific qualities associated with it and shall not remain marketable.

By virtue of Clause 1 of the Regulation 1.2 of the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 Best before means the date which signifies the end of the period under any stated storage conditions during which the food shall remain fully marketable and shall retain any specific qualities for which tacit or express claims have been made and beyond that date, the food may still be perfectly safe to consume, though its quality may have diminished. However the food shall not be sold if at any stage the product becomes unsafe.

Further, by virtue of Clause 10 of the Regulation 1.2 of the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011 Use – by date” or “Recommended last consumption date” or Expiry date means the date which signifies the end of the estimated period under any stated storage conditions, after which the food probably will not have the quality and safety attributes normally expected by the consumers and the food shall not be sold.”

Court further noted that, petitioner cannot be allowed to mention a single date for both as it would mislead the consumers to think that the product will never lose its quality.

Read the full judgment of Amrut Distilleries Ltd. v. Authorised Officer, FSSAI (19-03-2015, Madras HC)

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