durability indication of prepackaged food

Durability Indication of Prepackaged
Food
Centre for Food Safety
Background

According to Food and Drugs (Composition
and Labelling) Regulations, Cap.132W,
prepackaged food shall be legibly marked or
labelled with appropriate durability indication
in prescribed format.

Type of durability indication :
Use by (此日期或之前食用) date
Best before (此日期前最佳) date
1.
2.
2
Use by (此日期或之前食用) date

It applies to food items that are highly
perishable from the micro-biological point of
view, such as pasteurized milk, prepackaged
sandwiches with egg and ham, prepackaged
chilled beef, mutton or pork.

These foods can be stored only for a
relatively short time after manufacturing and
are likely to constitute an immediate danger to
human health if consumed after the "use by"
date. Therefore, sale of such foods after their
“use by” date is prohibited.
3
Best before (此日期前最佳) date

It applies to general food items such as candies
and canned beverages.

Best before (此日期前最佳) date indicates the
date before which specific properties of the food,
such as its colour, taste and appearance, can be
maintained at optimal conditions if the food is
properly stored. It does not mean that the food
would necessarily perish immediately or pose a
risk to human health after this date.
4
Offence

Sale of prepackaged food with durability
indication not in prescribed format or sale of
prepackaged food beyond Use by (此日期或
之前食用) date is an offence.

Prosecution will be taken and offender will be
liable to a fine at Level 5 ($50,000) and
imprisonment for 6 months.
5
Alteration to durability indication

According to existing legislation, any person
who, not being the manufacturer or packer
originally responsible for so marking or
labelling the food or without written
authorization from person mentioned above,
alters, removes or obliterates the food label
is an offence. The offender will be liable to a
fine at Level 5 ($50,000) and imprisonment
for 6 months.
6
Advice to the trade

Take note of the durability of foods being sold
at all times. Adopted the “First-in-first-out”
principle for food storage. Do not sell food that
has passed the expiry date to safeguard
public health.

In addition to the “use by” dates, pay attention
to the packaging. If the packaging is damaged,
the food may have been contaminated or
deteriorated even though it is still within the
durability period.
7
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