Shelf Life Vs Expiry Date: Do You Know The Difference?

Expiry Date vs Shelf Life

Revisit the moments when you bought that one skincare product and turned the product to check the expiry date. On reading the label you stand utterly confused about how to check the shelf life or read the expiry date. Well, we all buy and use different varieties of products every day. From food packets to medicines, we ensure that each product used or consumed by us is thoroughly checked before consumption. The very initial information we check on the label of the product is its expiry date or the shelf life. But did you know that the two have a lot of differences? The expiry date of a product is not synonymous with its shelf life. Keep reading to discover the difference between the two.


Expiry Date

Expiry Date

The expiry date, also referred to as the “expiration date,” is a fixed date written on a product that indicates when a manufacturer will no longer guarantee its complete effectiveness and safety. To put it another way, this date represents the final day that, in the case of food or medication, the product can be used or ingested. The product should not be used after its expiration date, regardless of when the seal was opened. The manufacturer makes this determination based on several variables, including the ingredients used, the processing techniques, and the packaging. The product could no longer be suitable for use or consumption once this date has gone. Consumption of expired medicines, food, and drinks can cause serious diseases. Hence, it is always recommended to read and check the expiry date.

Let’s understand it through an example: Imagine you get yourself a packet of Multigrain bread. To check the expiry date you will have to read the label of information provided at the back of the packaged product. For instance, the expiration date of the bread is the 19th of June, this would imply that the consumer can consume the bread best before the date mentioned. The consumption of the bread after the expiry date, i.e. 19th June, would not be safe and healthy.


Shelf Life

Shelf Life

The time a substance stays potent or effective after it has been opened is known as its shelf life. The term ‘shelf life’ describes how long a product may be kept in a given environment and still be used or consumed safely. The manufacturer determines it as well, but they also consider things like humidity and storage temperature to determine it. Usually, it is stated in terms of years or months. For instance, a product with a 12-month shelf life is safe to use or consume as long as it is stored correctly. Preservative-containing items could last longer on the shelf than those without them. Comparably, goods kept out of direct sunlight and in warm temperatures may have a shorter shelf life than those kept in a cool, dark environment.


Similarities Between The Two

Government organizations control both shelf life and expiration dates to protect consumers. Food and pharmaceutical firms are required by law in several nations to indicate the expiration date on their products. This aids customers in making knowledgeable choices regarding the security of the goods they buy. Similarly, laws might mandate that producers test their products for stability to establish how long they can be sold. This evaluation aids in ensuring the safety of the consumer.

Well, apart from checking the expiration dates and shelf life one should also take into consideration the additional information prescribed in the label. A consumer should be aware of what not to do after opening or using a product. The precautions to be taken can vary from product to product. For instance, a cosmetic product after its unboxing and opening should not be kept in direct sunlight as it may decrease its shelf life.

What do you think about the information? Did you find it helpful? Let us know.

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Kamya Bisht
the authorKamya Bisht
I am a young student in search of perfection. Pursuing graduation at DU doesn't restrict me to explore different other genres, My ability to write and put my thoughts into words has improved as a result of working in several firms as a content writing intern.