‘Expiration date creates confusion’

‘Expiration date creates confusion’

Photo: Nutrition Centre

In America from next year, possible even two houdbaarheidsindicaties used. The many data entries that are now in circulation are, in fact, provide for much confusion, with food waste as a result. Also in the Netherlands would be the names of the two houdbaarheidsindicaties better can, find umbrella.

In the Netherlands we are familiar with two types of houdbaarheidsdatums. THT (at least tenable to state on products that do not spoil quickly. The quality of the products after the specified date may be in decline, but the product is still safe to eat.

TGT (use) is listed on perishable products. The data entry indicates what the last day on which the product is still safe to eat.

Despite the fact that in the Netherlands there are only two data entries exist, there is still a lot of confusion among consumers. Research from the university of Wageningen shows that 38 percent of the consumers the difference know between THT and TGT.

The same problem prevails also in America. Therefore, food companies and retailerkoepels proposed to have only two indications to use: best if used by’ (the best to), that the quality assurance display and ‘use by’ products in the nutritional value deteriorate as they get older.


16 percent of the Dutch throw the food away immediately after the best-before date has expired. While the food is often still perfectly tenable. “The date says more about the quality of the product and not about the bederfelijkheid,” says Miranda Boer, of the Centraal Bureau Levensmiddelenhandel (CBL).

In January, the CBL, on behalf of the supermarket – and foodservicesector together with the government, FNLI, the Dutch Dairy Organisation and Wageningen University & Research the green deal ‘Over the date’, to give the consumer the meaning of expiration dates and the shelf life of products to explain, hopefully with a lower food wastage as a result.


“Makes you indeed wonder whether there are any better names for the expiration dates to remember,” said Farmer. “A brilliant alternative is not yet imagined. But ‘the best’ as an alternative to THT will come in the direction. It is also an idea to make the date bigger on the packaging. It is now to search sometimes.”

Currently, a study is done or there is more explanation needed about the expiry dates and whether there may be other terms for have to come.

“There should be established where consumers exactly the confusion. If there are more clear terms, this will be at the European level need to be adjusted,” says Suzanne Rotteveel of the FNLI. “What a better term than TZT and TGT could be, I dare not to say. It is important that any new name even more food waste can go.”

In addition call up the organizations to their members, where the European legislation that allows, no best before date on the packaging. “This is already the case under the more vegetables and fruit, but that would be more products of application can,” said Farmer. “If the date is missing, people are less inclined to throw it away.”

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