Nowadays, almost all food products contain date labels. These kinds of labels help you identify the lifespan of your foodstuff.
In the majority of states, including a date label on your food product is compulsory. But this mostly applies to commercial food manufacturers.
Even for commercial food manufacturers, there is no universally accepted mode of food dating. Food dating is not compulsory for all foods except for infant formula and some baby food.
Homeowners should also implement this useful practice. This way, they can prevent food wastage, minimize their costs on groceries and reduce the risk of food poisoning caused by eating bad food.
So, what is the right way of dating food products?
- 1 But first, what is Food Product Dating?
- 2 How do you date your food products correctly?
- 2.1 Outsource information from recent surveys
- 2.2 Use mathematical modeling tools
- 2.3 Conduct a static test
- 2.4 Using your competitor’s tactics
- 2.5 Phrases for food dating
But first, what is Food Product Dating?
Typically, food product dating entails including the manufacture date and expiry date of the product.
Often, the manufacturer of the food product determines the exact dates. They use various techniques to come up with the expiry dates.
Likewise, several homeowners include these dates when storing cooked food in the refrigerator.
Let’s look at some of the proper ways of food dating.
How do you date your food products correctly?
Outsource information from recent surveys
One of the main ways manufacturers come up with the expiry date is by using findings and conclusions from past studies.
For example, some studies show that you should store fresh produce for several days in the refrigerator. Such information usually serves as the basis of the correct expiration dates.
In case you think this is not an efficient technique, remember that most food manufacturers are highly trained.
So, they are able to gauge the “best before” date quite well. In fact, they set these dates slightly earlier to guarantee 100% safety.
Homeowners can always search for previous studies on the internet. Consequently, they will be able to come up with the correct expiration dates.
Nonetheless, make sure the source /website you use to retrieve information is credible.
Use mathematical modeling tools
With the evolution of technology, various online software helps you determine the correct dates to write on food labels. All you have to do is to enter the required information on the app or software.
Some of this information includes the name of the food item and ingredients of the item. Doing this enables the software to generate food dates automatically. This method is much simpler and consumes less time.
Conduct a static test
Another way to determine the correct dates for food labels is to perform a static test. What happens is that you store a sample of the respective food under certain conditions.
Please do not remove the food until it reaches its maximum lifespan. This way, you’ll be able to know how long the food can last under certain conditions.
It is recommended that homeowners use an earlier date to guarantee safety. The static test is a suitable method for homeowners.
Commercial food producers can use this technique too. But it would best if they used a more advanced method like the mathematical model.
Using your competitor’s tactics
A more straightforward method of dating food is by using the dates of your competitors. Find out the average time different foodstuff can last from your competitor.
Indisputably, your competitors are always right since their main objective is to expand their business.
Alternatively, you can consult a food expert who can offer these services at a fee. All these are dependable methods of food dating.
Is food dating for food safety or food quality?
Food products with date labels help consumers determine the quality of the item. Often, high standard products have longer lifespan since they offer value for money.
Food dating is not a determinant of the food’s safety. However, there is an exception. Food dating determines safety in infant formula.
Phrases for food dating
What are the best phrases to use when food labeling?
You can use various terms to date your food. However, use simple and straightforward terms that people can understand. Some of them include:
- Best before date: this term means that the food product is in good condition within a certain period.
- ‘Sell By’ date: the ‘Sell by’ date is often meant for the seller. It means that the product should not continue to get displayed on the counter after a certain period.
- Include the ‘Use by’ date: You should not consume a food product after the ‘use by’ date. The manufacturer does not render it safe for consumption after this date.
- Freeze by date: Don’t forget to mention the ‘freeze by’ date after a certain period if necessary. It only applies to the certain foodstuff that needs to get stored in the freezer after a certain period.
- Expiration date: This is one of the most common terms used by manufacturers. After the expiry date, manufacturers consider the food unfit for human consumption.
How does dating food influence food wastage?
Once people know the correct expiry dates, they consume the product before then. However, if they are not able to consume the food by then, it means it should be discarded.
For instance, homeowners tend to place the food items which are close to their expiration date on the kitchen counter’s front part. As a result, they will consume the item before it gets spoilt.
So, dating food prevents food wastage. You won’t have to get rid of so many foodstuffs when you master the food label dates.
Can you consume food after its expiration date?
Often, most foods are safe even after the expiration date. Remember, most manufacturers place the date early enough to promote safety.
So, if the expiry date passes and the food are still in good condition, it could still be safe for consumption, as long as the expiration date was not too long ago.
Nonetheless, always check for any possible signs of rotting before consuming the food.
However, for infant formula, please do not use it past its expiration date.
Also, avoid giving your children foodstuff that has exceeded their expiration date. Children are delicate and such foods might be harmful to them.
Unquestionably, food dating is essential. It promotes safety and allows you to purchase only quality foods.
Homeowners should do their best to implement this practice more often. This way, they can keep their fridge clean and reduce food wastage.
When coming up with the correct dates, there are various tactics you can always use. Some of them include static tests and mathematical tests which have been discussed above.
All of these techniques discussed above are useful. So, implement the one that works best for you.
Moreover, when dating your food, there are several terms you can use depending on the food item. Make sure that all these terms communicate a clear message.
Ultimately, dating food is essential and promotes safety!