Is Best Before same as expiry date?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Is Best Before same as expiry date?”, mention some other labels that you should be aware of, and tell you what products are safe to consume after expiry date.

Is Best Before same as expiry date?

No, the best before date is not the same as the expiry date. The best before date means the amount of time a certain product will last unopened in its perfect shape, texture, freshness, quality, aroma, and nutritional value, when stored properly under certain conditions.

This does not mean that the food is not safe to consume after this date. It can be consumed but it just would not have the same quality or may not deliver the same flavor as it would have while it was fresh.

The expiry date depicts when a certain product will lose its effectiveness and nutritional value, and in most cases, may not be safe to consume. Expiry dates are thus provided for products like infant formula, supplements, and products sold by a pharmacy. 

What are some other labels I should be aware of?

Sometimes, labels are used interchangeably which may confuse the consumer. Some other terms which are similar to ‘best before’ dates are

  • Use by
  • Sell by
  • Best if used by

‘Sell by’ is for the store owner’s knowledge of when to sell the product so that it is in its peak quality. ‘Use by’ and ‘best if used by’ dates are for the consumer’s knowledge of the amount of time the product will remain in its best quality. So, they are more or less the same.

It is advisable to not consume a product after its ‘expiry date’ or ‘do not consume after date’.

List of foods safe to consume after best before date

Craving for a midnight snack but that snack is past its expiry date? Well, do not worry. You do not always have to throw stuff out from your pantry just because it is way past its best before date.

Let us look at some food items that you can still use after the best before date has gone by. This way you can avoid wastage of perfectly good food.

You can eat expired packaged food. This is because packaged food usually has preservatives added to it which make it last longer. The only condition is that it should be stored properly and this date is only for unopened products.

Pudding Cups

Pudding cups can stay good for about three to four weeks after their expiry date. So, grab a spoon and indulge in your sweet tooth cravings.

Canned goods

Canned goods come with a long shelf life. Even after their expiry date, they can last for a couple of years given that they were stored in a cool dry place.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the old canned goods should not be leaky or opened in the past.


Bread is good to eat as long as there is no growth of mold on it. It may go stale after a few weeks, but you can always toast it. Bread lasts longer in the fridge rather than on the countertop.

Dry pasta

Dry uncooked pasta has a long shelf life. You can use it upto a year past its expiry date. Make sure the texture and smell is okay. Otherwise it is safe to use it.

Frozen food

Frozen packed food is almost always safe to eat after its expiry date has gone by. This is because cooler temperatures arrest the growth of bacteria on food and avoid it from getting spoiled.


Cereals can last for about six months past their expiry date. They may taste a bit stale but are safe to eat.


Condiments like ketchup, mustard, or chili garlic sauce have a long shelf life when they are unopened. Once opened, they can be used upto six months given that you store them properly in the refrigerator.

Cake mix

Cake mixes can be used for upto three to four months past their expiry date. The only prerequisite is that they were stored in a cool dry place.

Find out what other foods are safe to eat past expiry here.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “Is Best Before same as expiry date?”, mentioned some other labels that you should be aware of, and told you what products are safe to consume after expiry date.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.