Difference between THT and TGT: Food decay data explained

Nancy Heijnis
24 July 2023
Reading time: 7 minutes

Buying and using dietary supplements can sometimes be confusing due to the different expiration dates printed on the packaging. Two common terms are ‘Best Before’ (BB) and ‘Use By’ (UB). In this blog, we will delve deeper into the difference between these two terms and how to interpret them, specifically concerning dietary supplements.

What does ‘Best Before’ (BB) mean?

The BB date indicates until when a product retains its optimal quality, such as taste, texture, and nutritional value. After this date, the product can still be consumed safely, but its quality may slightly diminish. The BB date is commonly used for non-perishable products like pasta, rice, canned goods, biscuits, preserves, and also dietary supplements like proteins, creatines, gainers, vitamins, and minerals.

For dietary supplements, the BB date indicates until when the product maintains its optimal quality. After this date, the supplement’s quality may decrease, but they generally remain safe to consume. The effectiveness or potency of certain ingredients may diminish over time, but it does not mean that the supplement becomes harmful.

Key points to remember about BB:

  1. Safety: The product is often still safe to eat after the BB date unless it looks spoiled, has an unpleasant odor, or contains mold.

  2. Use your senses: It is advisable to use your senses (sight, smell, taste) to assess the product’s quality before consuming it.

  3. Not legally required: While the BB date is important for product quality, it is not legally required to discard it after this date.

What does ‘Use By’ (UB) mean?

Unlike many regular food items, dietary supplements usually do not have a UB date. This is because they are non-perishable, unlike perishable foods. Dietary supplements often contain concentrated nutrients that do not spoil quickly and, therefore, have a longer shelf life.

The UB date applies to perishable products that can spoil quickly and may pose a health risk after this date. Examples of such products include fresh meat, dairy products, fish, prepared salads, and perishable sauces. It is essential to consume these products before the UB date to minimize the risk of food spoilage and foodborne illnesses.

Key points to remember about UB:

  1. Harmful bacteria: It is advisable not to consume products with a UB date after this date, as they may contain harmful bacteria.

  2. Safety first: The UB date is based on the product’s safety, and it is crucial to follow this guideline to prevent food poisoning.

  3. Proper storage: It is important to store perishable products correctly according to the instructions on the packaging to extend their shelf life.

Storing BB products is essential to maintain their quality and safety. Here are some important points to consider when storing BB products, even after the BB date has passed:

  1. Follow storage instructions: BB products often come with specific instructions on how to store them. These instructions may relate to factors such as temperature, humidity, and light conditions. It is essential to follow these instructions to extend the product’s shelf life.

  2. Store at the right temperature: Many BB products should be stored in a cool and dry place. This means avoiding exposure to extreme heat, direct sunlight, or moist environments. Keep your products away from the stove, oven, or windows, and avoid places like the bathroom, where humidity can be high.

  3. Seal the packaging properly: It is important to close the packaging of BB products tightly after use. This prevents exposure to air and moisture, which can affect the product’s quality and shelf life. If necessary, consider transferring the product to an airtight container for even better protection.

  4. Check for signs of spoilage: While BB products are generally safe to consume after the BB date, it is essential to look for signs of spoilage. Check visually if the product still appears good, smell it to detect any unpleasant odors, and taste a small amount to check for any deviations in flavor. If the product looks spoiled, has a strange odor, or tastes bad, it is wise to discard it.

  5. Use common sense: In addition to the BB date and storage instructions, it is also crucial to use your common sense when assessing the shelf life of a BB product. If the product looks unusual or does not smell right, it is best to discard it.

In summary, understanding the difference between ‘Best Before’ (BB) and ‘Use By’ (UB).

The difference between ‘Best Before’ (BB) and ‘Use By’ (UB) is essential when buying and consuming food products, including dietary supplements. BB indicates until when a product maintains its optimal quality, while UB is relevant to perishable products where safety plays a vital role. BB products are generally safe to consume after the BB date, unless there are signs of spoilage. However, it is important to follow storage instructions and use your senses to assess the quality. UB dates must be respected to ensure food safety. Properly storing BB products, even after the date has passed, is crucial to maintain their quality and safety. Use your common sense when evaluating the shelf life of BB products and discard them if there are signs of spoilage.


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