Is the expiration date really that important? Can we use Neocate after the expiration date? What will happen if my child consumes Neocate after it’s expired? These are questions we hear often here at Nutricia North America. In today’s post, we’re hoping to clear up any confusion regarding expiration dates.
An expiration date on any product, not just Neocate products, is based on several factors. One being the durability of the packaging materials. We want to ensure the packaging will keep the contents safe until the expiration date.
Another is the stability of the ingredients. For example, some ingredients break down over time which can affect the smell or taste of the product. We want to ensure that the product is at the highest possible quality during the duration of the shelf life.
A final factor which is probably the most important is to ensure that the nutrients in the product are present at the levels on the label. Nutrients, particularly vitamins, have a tendency to naturally break down over time, some faster than others. Especially since many individuals use our products to meet a large portion of their nutritional needs, it’s very important that the right amount of each nutrient is in the product. We conduct extensive testing under a number of conditions to ensure that the nutrients hold up through the expiration date.
Federal regulations require a "use-by" date on the product label of infant formula under FDA inspection(1), and rightfully so. The ultimate intent of an expiration date is to keep our customers safe and ensure they receive the nutrients that they expect. With that being said, we cannot recommend using any of our products past the expiration date. If you still have questions, the best thing to do is to share this information with your healthcare team for their guidance.
-Kendra Valle, RDN, LDN