Industry Supporting Community Part II



Our last blog talked about some of the reasons that the food industry might donate their products to food banks. In this blog, we continue the discussion about receiving that support - and more specifically, Best Before and Expiration Dates.


At times, the Calgary Food Bank will receive food that is coded past its Best Before date and have to make the call on whether these items are acceptable to distribute to clients.


To help us make an informed decision, staff and volunteers are educated on how The Canadian Food Inspection Agency differentiates between an Expiration Date and a Best Before Date.

Can of Baby Food

Baby Food

Best Before Date

                          Best Before Date

Can of baby formula

Baby Formula

Expiry Date

                                  Expiry Date

An Expiration Date is defined as the date past which a product must be sold or removed from availability because it is no longer expected to be fresh or effective. Certain products, like baby formula and meal replacements, have an expiration date. After this date, the product should be discarded as the nutrient content and freshness are no longer safe for consumption.


Best Before Dates are more like an advisory or suggestion as to when a product should be used by. These dates must appear on foods that will keep fresh less than 90 days. The dates don’t guarantee freshness; factors such as food storage can have an impact on that, but Best Before Dates do give you some indication of potential shelf life of the product.


The Food Bank will NOT distribute food that is considered past its expiration date. We will distribute food closer to the Best Before date on its label than grocery stores would.


Quality is important to The Food Bank, and through our Reverse Logistics program, we are redirecting food to those who need it most.