The Difference between ‘Use By’ and ‘Best Before’ Date according to NTUC FairPrice & What’s Left Unsaid In The Post


Why is the phrase ‘rotten egg’ used to describe bad people that run the gamut from petty criminals to cold-blooded murderers?

Why eggs, and not broccoli or green pea, which is hated by 97.5% of the world’s population?

When will Goody Feed be closing down?

Where can I download the Goody Feed app to read all their rotten articles? (Since you didn’t ask, I’ll oblige anyway.)

While I do not have answers to the above, there appears to be a difference between “Use By” and “Best Before” dates on food labels, which I will share with you.

FairPrice on Instagram

On 19 January 2019, NTUC FairPrice posted a video onto Instagram and here it is:

The short video comprises of a few slides of images which explains the difference between “Use By” and “Best Before Dates”.

Textually, it goes to explain that:

“Use By” is typically used for highly-perishable and it indicates when your food is no longer safe to consume.

“Best Before” on the other hand, is commonly used for food with a longer shelf life and it indicates when your food will start to lose its quality.

In addition, “Use By” tantamount to a “safety concern” and somewhat categorically and finitely specifies a non-negotiable “to be consumed by” date, while “Best Before” informs “Quality Assurance” and a way-more flexible “recommended consumption period.”


That said, it does appear that NTUC’s post, or my analysis of their IG post appears to be heading in the direction of “actually food after ‘Best Before” dates can still be consumed.”

In looking for that one bombshell statement, I searched their caption for an answer:

The date on our food labels is one of the most important things to scruitinise before making a purchase. In most packages, the dates are either tagged as ‘Best Before’ or ‘Use By’ to give you an understanding of how long you can store the item on your shelf or in your fridge/freezer. With this information, it’ll help reduce the possibility of having to throw food items away. Let’s all be responsible with our grocery purchases and reduce food waste!

Non-committal but is it true and right-to-eat anyway?

For obvious reasons such as, “we-don’t-want-netizen-to-eat-food-after-best-before-date-get-laosai-and-say-we-say” or “netizen-who-fell-ill-after-eating-food-after-best-before-date-sues-NTUC,” NTUC’s caption is clearly meant to be an exercise in interpretation.

I mean, what does “With this information, it’ll help reduce the possibility of having to throw food items away. Let’s all be responsible with our grocery purchases and reduce food waste” mean?


Does it mean that we should only purchase fewer food items, bearing in mind how imminent said dates are?

Does it mean that food after “Best Before” or “Use By” dates should be fed to your cats and dogs in a bid to “reduce the possibility of having to throw food items away.”

Sure, “Let’s all be responsible with our grocery purchases and reduce food waste,” explicitly tells us to purchase groceries based on possibly conservative estimates, but then again, what’s the point of defining “Use By” and “Best Before” dates in the video if this post is merely about approximating your purchases optimally?

But I get it NTUC, there’s Netizen and there’s Singaporean Netizen.

So I’ll back you up here.

According to NHS

Now, according to National Health Service (NHS) which is like the spiritual forefather of Ministry of Health (MOH), their website states that:


NHS clearly tells us:”Don’t use any food or drink after the end of the “use by” date on the label, even if it looks and smells fine” while stating “Best before” dates are about quality, not safety. When the date is passed, it doesn’t mean that the food will be harmful, but it might begin to lose its flavour and texture.”

Because they are Ang Moh, and we Asian, and kiasi is not in their lexicon, NHS has confirmed what I think NTUC thought, but had dared not state explicitly.

So here goes: It might be potentially, quite possibly, and most likely safe –but perhaps less tasty – to consume food after their “Best Before Date.”

That said, that’s my take lah.

You are an adult so make your own decision based on your discretion and conviction please?


Kids reading this, do check with your parents should you choose to reduce food wastage.

Also, NTUC FairPrice, if you are perusing this, am I right?

#CallMe #Writetome