Best Before Date

Technical glossary of Paul Leibinger GmbH & Co. KG

Best before date / expiration date indicates the length of time that food, drink, medicine, chemicals and many other perishable items are given before they are considered unsuitable for sale, use or consumption.

In some regions a shelf life, a best before date, an expiration date, a use-by or a freshness date is required on the packaging of perishable foods or medicine.

Generally speaking, an expiration date is the recommendation of a certain time that products can be stored. During this period the defined quality of a specified proportion of the goods remains acceptable under expected or specified conditions of distribution, storage and display.

The best before date is printed e.g. on the lid of a yoghurt cup, on the side or the bottom of a bottle. It is important that the imprint always can easily be recognized and read and that it remains on the product until the end of the date. Furthermore the ink must be able to be printed on different surfaces, referring to form, material or humidity/temperature at the assembly line.

Nowadays even eggs are imprinted with an expiration date. For this application continuous inkjet printers (CIJ) with food grade inks bring best results. CIJ printers are a non-contact technique with different kinds of inks depending on the product material and imprint. See the LEIBINGER product range of inkjet printers.

The inks reach from dye-based and soft-pigmented inks, fast drying inks, keton free, alcohol and water based inks, pigmented contrast inks, security, color changing, sterilization, adhesive and alcohol resistant inks, food grade inks and food packaging inks. All forms and kinds of surfaces can be imprinted like round, vaulted, waved, rough or graded surfaces.

See also


  • Shelf life
  • Expiration date
  • Sell-by date
  • Use-by date
  • Open dating
  • Freshness date