Secret death of things: If it's not food, does it really expire?

Even household items that are not food have "use by" dates, beyond which there may be hygiene and safety issues

Whether it is fresh food from the supermarket, bread loaves from the bakery or medicine from the pharmacy, they all have one thing in common: a clearly marked expiry date, often stamped with the words "Best Before" or "Use By".

Past their expiry dates, such items will deteriorate in quality and be deemed no longer safe for use or consumption.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2018, with the headline 'If it's not food, does it really expire?'. Subscribe