Aug 25 2023 14:35 — 5 min read

What if I have an expiration date?


This entry goes from misunderstandings through some interesting about expiration date to I and you, do we have expiration dates? Let’s go into the part you are interested in.

Vietnamese version:
Sẽ ra sao nếu tôi cũng có “hạn sử dụng”


Food Image by ILLO

The foods/products will be damaged immediately after the expiry date

As a child, one of my misconceptions affected how I felt when I held a cake in my hand, I thought there was a boundary of food quality, just past the expiration date indicated on the package, that food would immediately go from good/delicious → spoiled/bad. Many times that thought made me hesitate for a long time but did not dare to eat because the expiration date had passed one day. In the end, despite regretting it but had to throw it away.

Actually not, the expiration date only represents the period of quality commitment between the manufacturer and their customers. This means that after that expiration date, the product may no longer be of good quality.

However for the goods they use the word Use By date it really means expired, and after that date you shouldn’t use them anymore.

Manufacturers don’t look every day to know the exact expiration date

Some argue that manufacturers will test products by by noting changes in food/products every day, and base on common denominator of experiments to know the best time period for the product.

This is not completely right, think about some items that have been used for up to 3-4 years, do they have to wait such a long time to test?

In fact, they run experiments and expose products to many different conditions, such as food in hot weather, to watch the growth of bacteria then approximating how long that food keeps quality in reality.

My advice is to trust your senses to determine whether to use that product or not.
A joke I used to tell with someone in the same situation as me when I was a kid that “Don’t worry, just eat it! It contains a lot of preservatives that can’t be spoiled.”

Interesting things

funfact Image by Brandon Land

Expiry date và Expiration date

On the packaging, some products use Expiry date, and others use Expiration date, what happens after expiration date, the food just doesn’t taste good and after expiry date everything will change poisonous, even deadly if eaten?

The answer is No. They mean the same thing, just different in usage, while expiry date is more commonly used in British English, expiration date is more commonly used in American English.

Unlike the US, expiry date is mandatory information on the packaging of many products in the UK, and has been in common use since 1970.

See the chart below for the frequency of both words used in books. While American writers only use the word expiration date, British writers use both words almost equally.

chart-expiry-date Note: The scope of assessment is only for books published in English since 1800.

Frozen food will not expire

Bacteria are not active when frozen so food will not expire once it is frozen, however, when taken out in a normal environment it needs to be processed immediately because then the bacteria will become active. move back and spoil the food.

Fun Facts

  • Dry food like rice can keep quality for a very long time, up to 25 years.
  • Twinkie cakes can even keep their shelf life for 30 years.
  • Honey does not have an expiration date because its concentration makes it impossible for bacteria to penetrate.
  • Usually, water does not have an expiration date, but bottled water does. The reason comes from plastic bottles that will gradually absorb their substances into the water, causing harm for a long time.

Do we have an expiration date?

borntoexpire Image by Lyndsey

I realized that everything I know in my life can be mark by an expiration date, even scientific knowledge, we used to believe absolutely that the Earth is the center of the universe, but now it is heliocentric theory. You listened to the same great song over and over again, but one day it doesn’t make you dance anymore. The girl said to be with you for life but then left without regret.

And it seems that either myself or you will one day expire, we are worse, more corrupt, grumpy, annoyed with everything around us, doing things that go against social norms.

Like a protagonist in the Old Man Hạc (as well as Once Upon a Time in Vũ Đại Village) once said:

How my life is going on from now? It’s gonna be musty, rusty and worn out like things before my eyes. I will die without ever having lived. Dying while living is miserable. How is shameful!
— Teacher Thứ

A teacher Thứ1 had a stuck life behind the village’s bamboo fence, and to see a rich, abusive, and cruel Bá Kiến oppressed honest people. That society repressed, led them to the downfall ultimately. Then poor village gave birth to Chí Phèo, make him acted up. He became a hoodlum, and carried all the worst morbid of feudalism in the first half of twentieth-century Vietnam.

I don’t expect me to be like that.
I hope you are honey - never expires.


  1. Also known simply as the Teacher, is the main protagonist of Nam Cao’s short story Old Man Hạc/Lão Hạc as well as the movie Once Upon a Time in Vũ Đại Village/Làng Vũ Đại Ngày Ấy

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Hope you have a great day! I'm lightsbee — A Product Manager and also lover of Personal Knowledge Management. You can see my works, or read more about my sharing knowledge on blogs and reach about to know me better.