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Consumers and Shelf Life

Should consumers ever ignore the date that is declared on a food label? 

Consumers should always pay attention to the date declared on a food label. This is especially important where a ‘use by’ date is declared. Consumers should always adhere to the ‘use by’ date, follow the storage instructions given and discard any food which has exceeded this date. Where a ‘best before’ date is declared on the label, consumers should use their discretion in determining whether the unopened food product is of good enough quality to eat. 

What should consumers do if they buy food which is past its ‘use by’ date? 

If you have purchased food which is past its ‘use by’ date, do not consume it and either return the product to the shop in which you purchased it or contact your local environmental health officer who will follow up the matter on your behalf. You can also contact the FSAI Advice line on 0818 33 66 77 to make a complaint or fill in our make a complaint form.

Does it matter if the food packaging has been damaged? 

It is important to examine any unopened product to ensure they are not damaged or broken, in particular canned food and the seals on glass jars. Do not use a food product if the packaging has been damaged, even if it is within its shelf-life.