Standardise format for expiry dates

There seems to be no standard format for the printing of expiry dates on food packages, bottles, boxes and so on.

Expiry dates can come in these forms: DDMMYY, MMDDYY or YYMMDD.

Some packaging use four digits to reflect the year while others use only the last two numbers.

Such discrepancies are confusing, especially for the less discerning.

Besides the format, where the expiry date is displayed also leaves much to be desired.

Consumers should not have to flip front and back, top and bottom, or turn corners to find it. Sometimes, the font is too small to be read, or the ink is faded or simply illegible.

The elderly with eyesight problems often struggle to figure out the numbers.

The authorities must set a clear standard on all products sold in our supermarkets, whether locally made or imported.

The date format must be consistent - DDMMYYYY is our norm - and the date must be conspicuously highlighted.

Manufacturers who appear shy or surreptitious about showing their product expiry dates ought to be questioned.

Daniel Chan Wai Piew