Use-By Date (UBD) and Best Before Date (BBD) determination

The UBD and BBD are two different items of information indicated on the product’s packaging that must not be confused. They both give information about the length of time a product is fit for consumption. The Use-by date (UBD) refers to the date by which a product must be consumed. All products (fresh or packaged) must display this information. Beyond this date, the product must not be consumed as it can represent a health risk. The Best Before Date (BBD) refers to the date by which the product may lose some nutritional quality or flavour. Beyond this date, the product can be consumed without any health risk. The determination of these two indicators is specific to each product. Upscience offers a tailored solution consisting of two-stages:

  • Stage 1: establishment of specifications (description of the foodstuff and manufacturing process)
  • Stage 2: validation tools and verification of product life : organoleptic alterations (pH, water activity (aw)) and micro-organism growth:

> Tool 1: ageing tests (analysis of the UBD according to AFNOR standard NF V01-003)

> Tool 2: growth tests (challenge test according to AFNOR standard NF V01-009)

In EU regulation No. 1169/2011 on food information for consumers, the expiry date is defined in Article 14 as “date a food shall be deemed to be unsafe in accordance with Article 14 (2) to (5) of Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002”. Many local or international authorities mentions some recommendations on methods and protocols.


Lipid characterisation

A lipid or fatty substance is composed of molecules with hydrophobic properties. Fatty substances are mainly composed of triglycerides which are esters derived from a molecule of glycerol and three fatty acids.

They are found naturally in the animal and vegetable kingdom, in solid (fat) or liquid form (oil). Food, feed and nutraceutical manufacturers may:

  • Control the lipid characteristics of their products,
  • Evaluate the alteration, control the oxidation stability of their product.

Oxidative stability is a parameter for the evaluation of the quality of oils and fats. It reflects the quality of the raw material and depends on the chemical composition of the lipids and processing and storage conditions.

In order to evaluate oxidative stability, the oil or fat is subjected to an accelerated oxidation test under standardised temperature, oxygen concentration, light and agitation.

Upscience offers a large portfolio of analysis in lipid characterisation: profile of fatty acids, free fatty acids, cholesterol, sterols, fat extract, peroxide value, hexanal, oxidation test, etc. analysed by colorimetry, HPLC or GC/MS.