Use-by or best-before dates on food labels

Most food sold in New Zealand must show a use-by or best-before date (also known as a date mark) on its label.

What date mark to show

Your label must show a:

  • 'use-by' date if your product, if not consumed by that date, may make people sick
  • 'best-before' date, if it's still safe, but of reduced quality, after that date.

Bread products with a shelf life under 7 days may show a best-before, baked-on, or baked-for date.

Small packages (surface area under 100 square cm) need only show a use-by date if there is one.

When no date mark is needed

Your label doesn't need a date mark if it:

  • has a shelf life of 2 years or longer
  • is a single serve of ice cream or ice confection.

More on date marks

Standard 1.2.5 Date marking of food for sale – Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Code

What else must be on food and drink labels?

Checklist for labelling food and drink packaging

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