Shelf life

Expiration date, or shelf life for foods is printed as 賞味期限 (shoumi kigen) here in Japan. There was a debate a few years ago when the government prefered the label 品質保持期限 (hinshitsu hoji kigen) but the consumer perspective won (by emphasising that shelf life relates to quality, rather than food safety).

Unsafe food should not be sold. Manufacturers and retailers need to ensure consumers that foods are as safe as possible. Or we simply don't come back a second time.

On bread and onigiri I prefer if they list the date and time when it was actually made. It is my decision as a consumer to buy food that is as fresh as possible. On some foods, you can see printed 製造年月日 (seizou nengappi) which means manufacture date. Good to know, I don't like milk that is 60 days old (see photo on the right).


Pandabonium said…
I agree with your views. K is an absolute nut about the dates, as if one hour beyond the printed date makes it deadly. I wonder how much perfectly safe food goes to waste because of that kind of attitude. I always tell to ask me first as I will consume it if I think is OK.

Perhaps more important than the freshness is one's choice of foods to begin with - meats, dairy, processed foods are not healthy choices no matter how fresh they are.
Martin J Frid said…
Thanks P. Next time you eat ice cream in Japan, try to find the "best before" date. Not!

I called Morinaga customer service and the girl kindly explained that it is not legally required. Instead there is an obscure code. So I told her the code printed on the ice cream package, and she could tell me that my ice cream had been made in September 2006. It was already 8 months old. No wonder it tasted "paper". But there was nothing wrong with it...

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