Date markings on food
Most packaged foods with a shelf life of up to 2 years require a date mark, except for individual portions of ice cream or food products in small packages (such as chewing gum), where there is no food safety concern.
The date marks are:
- Use By – don't eat the food after the date. It's illegal to sell food past a Use By date. If you have purchased something past its best before date, contact the business where you purchased the food and lodge a complaint with them.
- Best Before – may still be safe to eat after the date but the food may have lost some quality. Food can be sold beyond a 'Best Before' date as long as it's still fit for human consumption.
Note, it is legal to sell food past its best-before date in New Zealand. If you have purchased some food past its best-before date and experienced an issue with the food, contact the business where you purchased the food and lodge a complaint with them.