Best Before Dates and Batch Numbers, please explain? What do best before dates mean on food?
When you are purchasing GF Oats products, you will see a Batch Number and a Best Before Date on our products. Let’s explain what they mean.
Batch numbers on products
When you see a batch number on our products, like the image you see here displayed, you will notice a sequence of numbers. These indicate to GF Oats customers when that product was packed. We keep records of these batch numbers, so if there are any problems with the products, that we can easily contain the products and recall if need be that particular batch. GF Oats have along with other food companies, a full recall batch procedure, we just all pray we never have to use it.
Best Before Date
The best before date, sometimes shown as BBE (best before end), is really about quality and not safety. The food will be safe to eat after this date but may not be at its best. Its flavour and texture might not be as good. Best before dates appear on a wide range of foods including frozen foods. Date marks give a guide to how long food can be kept before it begins to deteriorate or may become unsafe to eat.
What is the difference between best before dates and expiry dates?
Expiration dates are there to basically tell consumers the last day a product is safe to consume. We often see this on fresh produce eg. Meat. Best before date, on the other hand, tells you that the food is no longer in its perfect shape from that date. It may just lose its freshness, taste, aroma or nutrients. It does not necessarily mean that the food is no longer safe to eat.
The difference between best before dates and used by dates
There two types of date markings used in Australia, best before dates and used by dates. The food supplier is responsible for placing a use by or best before date on food. Foods that must be eaten before a certain time for health or safety reasons should be marked with a use-by date. Foods should not be eaten after the use-by date and can’t legally be sold after this date because they may pose a health or safety risk. The “use-by” date refers to the final day that the product will be at its optimum freshness, flavour, and texture.
Can we use products after their best before date?
Most food, however, including ours at GF Oats, all have a best before date as a guide as to when we believe is the optimal time to consume our products before we feel the flavour may start to deteriorate. You can still eat foods for a while after the best before date as they should be safe, but they may have lost some quality. Foods that have a best before date can legally be sold after that date provided the food is fit for human consumption. The only food that can have a different date mark on it is bread, which can be labelled with a baked-on or baked for date if its shelf life is less than seven days.
What is the Best Before Date ranges for GF Oats?
The date ranges vary from product to product. GF Oats themselves have the longest best before date as they are a straight ingredient, with nothing else mixed with them and the least amount of processing. We are guided by the best before dates that our growers suggest on the bag – 18 months from time of packaging. You as a customer can extend this best fore date by placing your oats in the freezer.
Our muesli has 16 months on it, our biscuits at the moment are 9 months until we do some further testing to see what the loses are beyond that date.
Foods that have a shelf life of two years or longer, e.g. some canned foods, do not need to be labelled with a best before date. This is because it is difficult to give the consumer an accurate guide as to how long these foods will keep, as they may retain their quality for many years and are likely to be consumed well before they spoil.
If specific storage conditions are required in order for a product to keep until its best before or use by date, suppliers must include this information on the label, e.g. ‘This yoghurt should be kept refrigerated’.
You should also follow any directions for use or cooking instructions that the supplier has put on the label.