The difference between minimum retention period and expiry date

Beyond the price or the brand, the expiration date is one of the things that consumers look at most carefully, even when they are in a hurry. It can also happen that, when you find yourself cleaning the kitchen or tidying up the shelves, you can eliminate all those packs in which a date that has just been passed appears. Yet, there are two pieces of information that foods provide and between them, there is a noticeable difference. Let’s talk about the minimum storage term and expiry  

Health is certainly the first concern in any family. Especially when it comes to nutrition, we always try to buy top quality foods, depending on the price. And, of course, nobody would ever want to eat something out of date, to avoid risks. But is it always a good idea to throw a jar or food package in the trash? Perhaps it is better to understand what are the differences between the minimum storage term and the expiry date. To do this, don’t miss the following article.

The duration of a food

Consumers usually do not distinguish between the minimum storage term and the expiry date, as they believe that both mean the same thing. Therefore, discard any food when the date is shown on the package has been exceeded, even if just a couple of days.

The confusion between the two terms is due to the fact that nutritional labels are often not easy to read and interpret. Often the data is written in an unclear way, with a small font or in a foreign language. The products can indicate a complete date (with day, month, year) or even partial (month and year, or even just the year). But this does not mean that once these dates are exceeded, the food in question is in bad condition, toxic or that may cause problems to your health.

To avoid any kind of problem, almost all consumers prefer to throw away the product and buy another one, with a later expiration date. This behavior undoubtedly has many consequences on the global economy and also on the environment. The only ones who can celebrate are the producers, who succeed in increasing their sales.

But this is not the only problem: the lack of management or planning in food storage generates waste of millions of tons of food every year. There are products that end up in the garbage bin when they could be safely consumed.

Proper administration of the food or products you have in the kitchen is essential, as is the place you will choose to store them. For example, a good idea is to sort foods according to their size, so that they are all “insight”, stored in a cool, dry place with adequate ventilation.

To avoid waste, we recommend that you group products that expire much later, keeping those that have a shorter expiration date closer and within reach.

Differences between the minimum retention period and expiry date

In addition to being good at organizing the kitchen, arranging food products with a criterion that allows you to consume everything that is soon to expire, it is essential to know the difference between these two terms. Below, we will highlight their peculiarities:

1. Expiration date

The meaning of this date is simple: starting from the day indicated, the product should not be eaten. However, this does not mean that after one or two days, the food will be in bad condition or rotten, but with each additional day that passes, the risk of poisoning increases.

The expiration date is specified for certain foods, such as pasteurized ones (milk, cream, yogurt), meat or   The expiration date is specifically indicated and should be respected if you do not want to suffer from stomach problems.

2. Minimum storage period (TMC)

In this case, the TMC establishes a date before which consumption is recommended and, surely, only the year or month and year will be indicated on the product. As of this date, the quality of the food will decrease, but it will never be a problem for your health.

The date relative to the minimum storage time is used in dehydrated foods or with little water (cereals, legumes, oils), sterilized (milk boxes, cans, preserves) and eggs. We can say, therefore, that once that time has passed, every day or week that passes will make the product poorer in taste, less consistent and with a vertical drop in nutritional values (carbohydrates, vitamins, proteins, starches, fibers, sugars …).

It is very important to understand the difference between the minimum retention period and expiry date, since, as you have seen, they mean two completely different things. Keep in mind then that, once you open a product or food, its storage capacity will change considerably.

For this reason, the maximum number of days in which the food can remain open before consumption is also present on the labels. Obviously, it will be necessary to keep this product in the refrigerator, since the low temperature will help slow down its deterioration.

From now on, then, every time you shop at the supermarket, you will be able to recognize the minimum shelf life and the expiry date, avoiding unnecessary waste for you and the environment.

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