Zone Bébé Newsletter - Food, glorious food

This week
Have you ever wondered about the different dates on food packaging and their meaning?

Here is a small guide as to how to apply the different dates on different types of food products.

There are two main indications here in France:

DLUO – Date limite d’utilisation optimal and DLC – Date limite de consommation.


Similar to the Best Before indication in English speaking countries, here is what it means:

The deadline for optimal consumption is a date indicated on the packaging of certain food items beyond which their sensory and nutritional qualities are no longer guaranteed: they may have less taste, less vitamins, a different consistency, without constituting a danger to health. Food items concerned are groceries, coffee, canned goods, frozen foods, biscuits, drinks, etc.. Their sale beyond the DLUO is not prohibited.

The DLUO is indicated by the reference "a consommer de préférence avant le...” - best consumed before followed by the day and month for products with a durability of less than 3 months, or by the reference to "a consommer de préférence avant fin...” - best consumed before end followed by either the month and year for products with a durability of between 3 and 18 months.


Similar to the use-by date in English speaking countries, also date de péremption - expiration date is a date on microbiologically perishable food items likely to constitute an immediate hazard to human health after a short period. It is determined by the manufacturer, except for a few products for which it is fixed by regulation. It is valid only if the food was stored at a temperature less than or equal to that indicated on the packaging. It is mandatory for perishable food: fresh milk, yoghurt, pre-packaged meat, cold cuts, freshly prepared meals, etc.

Only since the 1980s French law requires the use-by date on all perishable food products.

The DLC is expressed on the package by the words "a consommer jusqu'au” - use by followed by an indication of the day and month.

The product cannot be sold beyond the DLC. However, many businesses remove the products from the shelves two or three days before the DLC and the discard them.

Once the DLC is reached, the product is considered unsafe and must be withdrawn from sale. Microbes (bacteria, fungi ...) may indeed develop. Consuming a product that exceeded the DLC may present health risks especially for small children.

Worth knowing

The American non-profit organisation Textile Exchange reports that despite a yearly growth of more than 30% since 2001, organic cotton plays a rather minor role with a 1% share of the cotton market. 2009/2010 around 242000 tons of organic cotton were produced with the main share coming from India. Organic cotton from India is around 10% more expensive than conventional cotton.*


Please remember that Amanda of First Aid Sans Frontieres organises First Aid courses in the 06 area of France. A brilliant set of skills that allow you to be prepared in case of emergencies.

Next week

Dates, symbols and their meaning on cosmetics.

A little eye-opener on cornflakes.

If you have some ideas, wishes or suggestion what you would like to see in the newsletter, let me know:

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Have a wonderful weekend, and don’t get washed out in this rain (well at least here in the South).

Claudia/Zone Bébé

Le bio for bébés et mamans

*Source : Öko-Test 5/11