Use-by day or date
Packaging of foods which, from a microbiologically point of view, are highly perishable must be marked with a use-by day or date. The date is indicated as the day and month and, if desired, also as a year. After the use-by day, the food may no longer be sold or used, or used in the manufacture of food sold or served.
Foods which, from a microbiologically point of view, are highly perishable include unpasteurised milk and cream, unripened cheese, fresh meat, minced meat, uncooked meat products, fresh fish, etc. non-heat-treated products and products the stability of which has not been ensured by heat treatment or preservatives or other treatment.
Indication of best before date (date of minimum durability)
Except for the following derogations, the packaging of foods other than those which, from a microbiologically point of view, are highly perishable (i.e. also "ordinary" highly perishable foods) must indicate the date until which the product retains its specific properties, when properly stored. The packaging of frozen foods always indicates the best before date (Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Decree 818/2012, amendment 275/2016).
The product may be marketed or used even after its best before date, provided that its quality has not been significantly impaired. It is recommended that products sold after the “best before” date be labelled as out of date products.
The date is indicated after the words "best before" as follows:
- the day and month if the food will not keep for more than 3 months;
- the month and year if the food will keep for more than 3 months but not more than 18 months;
- to the nearest year if the food will keep for more than 18 months.
If the durability is indicated in either month and year or to the year only, the word “end” must be added to the end of the date, for example “best before end 2023” to clarify the indication.
Foods which require no indication of the best before date:
- fresh berries, fruits, vegetables and mushrooms that have not been peeled, chopped or otherwise treated; this derogation does not apply to sprouts or other similar products
- whole juices, nectars, juices, soft drinks and beverages containing more than 1.2% by volume of alcohol, intended for mass caterers, in containers holding more than 5 litres
- bakery wares and breads which, given the nature of their properties, are normally consumed within 24 hours
salt and salt substitutes
- confectionery consisting almost solely of flavoured or coloured sugars
- chewing gum and other similar chewing foods
- individual portions of ice-cream
- must be indicated on the packaging of foods, which from a microbiologically point of view, are highly perishable.