Food labels, food-dating practices: AVA replies

We thank Mr Joel Low En Zuo for his feedback ("Standardise food labels, food-dating practices"; Forum Online, Nov 1).

Under the Singapore Food Regulations, only products with limited shelf lives need to be date-marked with an expiry date.

The expiry date refers to the date that food products, which have been stored properly, may not retain their best quality.

The terms "Use By", "Sell By", "Expiry Date" or "Best Before" may be used to refer to the expiry date.

The import, distribution and sale of foods that have passed their expiry dates are not allowed.

Consumers should not consume food products after their expiry dates as they might have deteriorated in quality.

Consumers should also be aware that the safety of a food product is not dependent only on its expiry date.

Food products which are not stored or handled properly can be unsafe to consume even if their expiry dates have not passed.

Consumers should check the food product for signs of spoilage (for example, odour and bulging packaging) before consumption. Food products should not be consumed if there are any doubts about their safety.

Astrid Yeo (Dr)

Group Director

Regulatory Administration Group

Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore