Have a question? Call 020 3371 1516 | Enrol now on any course and pay later!
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Food hygiene blog

Sell by, Best Before, Use By, Display Until dates

Best Before and Use By dates on food and drink

What is shelf-life?

Shelf-life is the period of time during which a food maintains its acceptable or desirable characteristics under specified storage and handling conditions. These acceptable or desirable characteristics can be related to the safety or quality of the product and can be microbiological, chemical or physical in nature.

 

Under European legislation (Regulation (EU) No.1169/2011) shelf-life is referred to as the “date of minimum durability”. 

 

What is the date of minimum durability?

Regulation (EU) No.1169/2011requires that the shelf-life of a foodstuff be indicated by either a date of minimum durability (‘best before’) or a ‘use by’ date. 

 

What is the difference between a ‘best before’ and a ‘use by’ date?

The date of minimum durability, or ‘best before’ date, is the date until which a foodstuff retains its specific properties e.g. taste, aroma, appearance, any specific qualities which relate to the product, vitamin content etc. when the product has been stored appropriately and the package unopened. 

 

Typically, a ‘best before’ date is used for food products such as canned, dried, ambient, frozen foods etc. Many foods that are past their ‘best before’ date may be safe to eat, but their quality may have deteriorated.

 

In the case of foods, which from a microbiological point of view, are highly perishable and are therefore likely after a short period to constitute an immediate danger to human health, the date of minimum durability must be replaced by the ‘use by’ date. The ‘use by’ is the date up until which a food may be used safely i.e. consumed, cooked or processed, once it has been stored correctly. After the ‘use by’ date a food is deemed unsafe in accordance with article 14(2) of Regulation EC No. 178/2002 and cannot be sold.

 

Typically, a ‘use by’ date is used for fresh, ready-to-eat and chilled foods such as yogurt, milk, meat, unpasteurised fruit juices etc. 

 

An exception to this is raw, shell eggs which require a ‘best before’ date as set out in Regulation (EC) No. 589/2008 as regards marketing standards for eggs.

 

Who decides if a product requires a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date?

The food business operator (usually the manufacturer or producer) attaching a label to a food product is responsible for deciding whether a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date is required for declaration of its shelf-life. 

 

 

When should this decision be taken?

The decision as to whether a food requires a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date should be taken when the food manufacturer or producer is developing their food safety management system, based on HACCP principles, for the product. It is strongly recommended that the food manufacturer or producer document this process.

 

Food business operators who receive bulk food product and subsequently break it down and repackage it, are now responsible for ensuring that the information provided relating to this product, including its shelf-life, is correct, under Article 8 of Regulation (EU) No.1169/2011. 

 

If changes are made to the information provided, for example the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date, these may only be made provided such modifications do not mislead the final consumer or otherwise reduce the level of consumer protection and the possibilities for the final consumer to make informed choices. The FBOs are responsible for any changes they make to the food information accompanying a food.

 

Do all foods require a shelf-life declaration?

No, a shelf-life declaration i.e. a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date, is not required for the following foods:

Fresh fruit and vegetables, including potatoes, which have not been peeled, cut or similarly treated. However, this does not apply to sprouting seeds and similar products such as legume sprouts which do require a date of minimum durability

Wines, liqueur wines, sparkling wines, aromatised wines, and similar products obtained from fruit other than grapes, and beverages falling within CN code 2206 00 obtained from grapes or grape musts

Beverages containing 10 % or more by volume of alcohol

Bakers’ or pastry cooks’ wares which, given the nature of their content, are normally consumed within 24 hours of their manufacture 

Vinegar

Cooking salt

Solid sugar

Confectionery products consisting almost solely of flavoured and/or coloured sugars

Chewing gums and similar chewing products.

 

Are there other forms of expressing shelf-life used on food products?  

Some FBOs, in addition to a declaring a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date, will label food products with terms such as ‘sell by’, ‘expires on’, ‘eat by’, ‘display until’ etc. followed by an appropriate date. These types of labels are sometimes used by food businesses for stock control purposes. From a consumer point of view, when checking shelf-life, only a ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ date need to be considered.

 

How does a business decide if a food needs a ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date?

In order to determine whether a product requires a 'best before' or 'use by' date, food businesses can use a decision tree. 

Source: Food Safety Authority of Ireland

CIEH Level 3 Award in Training Principles and Practice Course

 

 

 

CIEH Level 3 Award in Training Principles and Practice Course (Train the Trainer course) is the new minimum qualification for trainers. 

 

 

 

 

This course is ideal for first-time trainers who need to apply the basics of training skills and practice or those looking to refine or refresh their techniques. This qualification encourages a flexible approach to training delivery that takes account of learners’ needs and learning style preferences. It covers initial assessment, planning and preparation, training delivery, assessment and evaluation.

 

Dates: 24th Nov plus, 1st and 8th Dec 2016

Cost: £450pp includes exam fees and course book

Venue: London

This course was previously known as PTLLS and Train the Trainer

 

Topics covered:

 

  • Inclusive teaching and learning approaches in education and training
  • Ways to create an inclusive teaching and learning environment
  • Planning inclusive teaching and learning
  • Delivering inclusive teaching and learning
  • Evaluating the delivery of inclusive teaching and learning

 

How are candidates assessed:

 

The CIEH Level 3 Award in Training – Principles and practice assessment is divided into two parts:

 

1. a 1,000 word outline of the candidate’s subject specialism

2. a microteaching session (including peer assessment).

 

For further details click here 

EU Standing Biocides committee rejects triclosan in human hygiene products

 

COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION (EU) 2016/110 of 27 January 2016 not approving triclosan as an existing active substance for use in biocidal products for product-type 1.

The BPC had voted that triclosan should not be approved because of its toxic and bioaccumulative effects. 

PT 1 Human hygiene: Products in this group are biocidal products used for human hygiene purposes, applied on or in contact with human skin or scalps for the primary purpose of disinfecting the skin or scalp.

What makes a CIEH training centre excellent?

Kitchen Tonic was featured as CIEH excellent centre in this recent interview. 

What makes a CIEH training centre excellent?

July 6, 2015
Helen Hartropp, Quality Assurance Consultant, CIEH with Anna Howells, Development Manager and Commissioning Editor, CIEH

A CIEH centre is a registered training provider responsible for administering the delivery of training programmes in support of CIEH vocational qualifications. Over the years, working formerly as the CIEH Quality Assurance Manager and latterly as a CIEH auditor, I have encountered many excellent CIEH centres. These centres vary in size and remit. Some are small with just one trainer. Others are training departments, colleges or large-scale nationwide enterprises employing any number of trainers. Some provide in-house training for a single employer. Others provide training for a variety of clients in the public and private sector, as open or closed courses, for individuals and groups. What excellent centres all have in common is the way they manage, develop and promote their businesses and also the extent to which they comply with CIEH quality standards and procedures.

The purpose of this article is to share examples of good practice to help you to improve the quality of training delivery and, thereby, maintain and develop your businesses.

Communication is key

Excellent centres have a well-developed understanding of their clients’ and learners’ needs. Time spent conducting a ‘training-needs analysis’ with clients and initial assessment with learners will help to ensure that training delivery is effective in achieving agreed aims. Making contact with clients at regular intervals will help you to maintain your profile as an expert training provider and secure future business.

Keeping abreast of industry news and developments will help you to anticipate and respond to your clients’ training needs. For example, you could use the free TiFSiP Allergen Information interactive pdf to help your clients understand the new requirements under the Food Information Regulations 2014 and, should training needs be identified, offer to run a CIEH Level 2 Award in Food Allergen Awareness course for staff to develop their knowledge and understanding of the principles of practical allergen management.

Business development

Excellent centres often have reputations that precede them ¬– attracting new business through recommendations. Few, however, are passive in this process. Networking is key to identifying new commercial opportunities. Excellent centres are usually embedded in the local business community actively engaging with colleagues in training and the industries they serve.

Training solutions

Excellent centres ensure that they provide training solutions that best meet the needs of their clients and learners. Training costs employers – not just in the fees for courses but also to cover staff absence. In an increasing competitive market, centres have to come up with creative and flexible training solutions. This may involve e-learning or developing blended learning options to run alongside conventional face-to-face training.

Excellent centres have trainers who provide courses that engage and motivate learners. In addition to developing session plans that cover all the learning outcomes and criteria in the units of assessment, trainers will:

  • elicit learners’ prior knowledge based on experience
  • adapt content to ensure it is relevant
  • encourage active participation in learning
  • develop strategies and resources to meet a wide range of learning needs
  • relate theory to practice at every available opportunity

Continuing professional development

Excellent centres have professional trainers who commit to maintaining and developing their professional knowledge. Professional standards, such as those published by the Education and Training Foundation in 2014 for teachers and trainers in England, set out clearly the expectations centres, clients and learners should have with regard to effective practice and also provide a framework for assessment and self-assessment to identify areas for development.

Trainers may use a range of continuing professional development strategies – such as formal study, attendance at courses or workshops, using free resources on websites such as those of the Food Standards AgencyHealth and Safety Executive or Public Health England, joining membership organisations such as TIFSIP or online professional groups such as those on LinkedIn.

When delivering vocational qualifications, vocational experience is essential – if only to remind the trainer on the ‘high hard ground of theory’ of the challenges faced by those in the ‘swampy lowlands of practice’ (Schön, 1983). It is for this reason that CIEH encourages registered trainers to visit workplaces to develop a better understanding of learners’ needs.

Course administration

Excellent centres manage the delivery of training courses and assessments and recognise the value of efficient and effective administration as part of good customer service. The CIEH’s requirements for training delivery and assessment are clearly laid out in the Procedure Manual and form the basis for the CIEH audit. To support administrative functions, CIEH provides templates of key documents for centres to adapt to meet specific needs.

Excellent centres administer assessments correctly. Having undertaken training and completed the assessment, learners and clients will be keen to find out who has passed. The single most common reason for delays in the processing of results is the failure on the part of centres and/or trainers to complete the paperwork correctly. Double checking paperwork to ensure that it is complete and correct before submitting results to the CIEH for processing will ensure that CIEH is able to fulfil its customer service pledges for the turnaround of certificates – keeping you, your client and your learners happy.

Conclusion

An excellent centre is a successful centre. By learning from experience and committing to the process of continual improvement you can develop your business and ensure its financial success. To find out more about what an excellent centre looks like look at the case studies of Kitchen Tonic and Kings Safety Training.

Authors’ Biography

Helen Hartropp has worked for the CIEH in various capacities for 14 years, as training centre, an auditor, examiner and Quality Assurance Manager. She has recently retired from her role as Quality Assurance Consultant. She is the author of the training materials developed to support the CIEH Level 2 Award in Hygiene in Health and Social Care. Before joining the CIEH, she managed a business, generating income for the NHS, which provided food and environmental microbiology services for food and catering establishments and other hospitals.

Anna Howells is the Development Manager and Commissioning Editor working for the CIEH awarding organisation. She leads the Product Development team, producing materials to support the delivery of CIEH vocational qualifications.

References

 

Schön D A (1983) The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action, New York: Basic Books 

Health and safety training courses - special offers

 

 

CIEH Level 2 Award in Health and Safety in the Workplace course

Classroom based courses at our venue

Only £50pp includes exam fee. No VAT to add

 

 

 

Our trainers can come to you and deliver this level 2 course at your business.

Special offer:

Valid until 31st Jan 2016

Up to 15 candidates

£685 was £900 

 

Saving £215

Click here for further details

 

 


CIEH Level 3 Award in Health and Safety in the Workplace course

24th, 25th and 26th Feb 2016

You will be taught by a CIEH registered health and safety trainer

We currently have a 100% pass rate. 

Time: 9am -4:30pm daily

Cost: £280pp includes exam fees No VAT to add. 

Further course details and payment information can be found by clicking here

 

Kitchen Tonic is a CIEH registered training centre

Syndicate content