What are the possible ways to indicate Expiry Date or Minimum Durability of a food in the Philippines? And what are the differences between them with respect to quality and safety indications?

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  1. Ricebowl Food Expert
    April 5, 2019 at 10:46 am

    In the Philippines, two types of open-date marking are used.

      1. Consume before Date (“Use by” date or “Expiration date”) – end of the estimated shelf-life under a stated storage condition. Beyond this date, consuming it can cause food poisoning. Those who consume the item can experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea as most common symptoms and cases of food poisoning. In some cases, worse scenarios can happen that may lead to death especially for those people who are at-risk or those whose immune system are suppressed.
      2. ‘Best before’ date or ‘Best Use by’ date – date signifying the end of certain quality attributes of the product deteriorates. However, it can still be satisfactory for human consumption though some qualities of may have deteriorated. For example, for biscuits, it may be softer than the expected texture, but it is still safe for consumption.
      According to news interview with a regulatory officer from FDA Philippines, the officer stated that if an item is categorized as high-risk food product, ‘expiry date’ should be used. ‘Best before’ dates should only be used for microbiologically-stable items like candies or biscuits.
      According to Administrative Order 2014-0030 – Revised Rules and Regulations on Pre-packaged Foods, declaration of Expiry Date / Use by Date / Consume before Date should be in the following order: Day, Month, Year. Day and year are written in numbers while the month should be written in words to avoid confusion (e.g. 09March2020 or 09Mar20).
      References
    • Alvin Elchico (2017). ALAMIN: Pinagkaiba ng ‘best before’ sa ‘expiration date’. ABS-CBN News.
    • ALAMIN: Pagkaing lumagpas na sa expiry date, maaari pa bang kainin?. (2017). ABS-CBN News.
    • Philippine Information Agency. (2012). FDA issues guidelines for marking pre-packaged foods.
    • Department of Health. (2014). FDA Philippines: AO 2014-0030 – Revised Rules and Regulation Governing the Labeling of Prepackaged Foods.

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