Neocate Expiration Date: Does the Expiration Date Really Matter?

Neocate Formula Expiration Dates

Neocate expiration dates, questions answered. I am generally a thrifty person. I might as well get the most enjoyment and use out of the things I have. My philosophy in life is waste not, want not!

When I find something that is nearing or just past its expiration date the question “Does this expiration date matter?” passes through my mind. I know many of you have the same thoughts and questions when it comes to Neocate. I get this question by phone or email almost every week. I know Neocate is likely an essential part of your or your family’s nutrition. It may even be the only nutrition or the only thing that works, so it is an important question.

Let me take a few minutes to answer those questions I often hear from parents just like you to help give you a better understanding. 

What Does the Expiration Date Mean?

The expiration date on any product is intended to be the last date when the product should be used. Many times you will see this noted as the expiration date. An example is on the bottom of your Neocate cans with “EXP” followed by a calendar date. It could also be in the form of “use before” and “best before” date as it is noted on some products. 

Expiration dates are not federally required. Infant formula is one of the only items needed to have a “use by” date according to FDA regulations. When a date is included, it is required to have a full calendar date including the month, day, and year according to the FDA. Some states do require dating of foods, although those are unique by state. 

Here at Nutricia, we put customer safety first. We want to ensure your loved ones receive the nutrition they need to grow and thrive when living with food allergies and related conditions. We keep this in mind when determining the expiration date for Neocate. We test Neocate over the shelf life under a variety of conditions to determine the expiration dates for all of our Neocate products, not just our infant formulas.

How are Expiration Dates Determined?

  1. The nutrients in the product should meet the nutrient levels on the label throughout the shelf life.

    Shelf life is probably the most important factor. Some nutrients, particularly vitamins, naturally break down over time. Nutrients in the product must meet the levels indicated on the label. 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 testing under several conditions to ensure the nutrients will hold up throughout shelf life and through the expiration date. However, past the expiration date, we can’t guarantee how much of each nutrient will remain.

  2. The packaging should protect the product throughout the shelf life.

    Packaging is important in determining expiration dates. The durability of the packaging materials should protect the quality of the product over the recommended shelf life. We want to ensure that the cans or drink boxes remain sealed and maintain the quality of the Neocate inside until the expiration date.

  3. The product quality should be useful throughout shelf life.

    Neocate quality is also an essential factor, and depends on the stability of the ingredients. Many ingredients naturally break down over time, some faster than others. This breakdown can affect the look, smell, and taste of the product. As you may know, taste and smell are especially crucial to some little ones. For that reason, we ensure the quality of Neocate products holds up through the expiration date.

How Do I Know if My Neocate is Expired?

This question about expiration is a question that I get quite often. With all of the information printed on Neocate products, it is not surprising that many of you wonder this. The expiration date is at the bottom of every can of Neocate. The expiration date is specified in detail, including day, month and year following: “EXP.”

The date of manufacture, which is a full calendar date preceded by “MFD” or “MAN” is printed on the can.  The expiration date is also printed on the outside of every Neocate case.

On Neocate Splash drink boxes you will find the expiration date noted on the top of each drink box. You may also notice that we list the date as a full calendar date with month, day, and year all included. The expiration date is on the outside of every case of 27 Neocate Splash drink boxes.

What Happens If I Use My Neocate After the Expiration Date?

We do not test what will happen if someone takes Neocate after the expiration date.

We cannot recommend or advise using any of our products past the expiration date, even if it’s just the day after. If you’re considering using Neocate past the expiration date, we suggest asking your healthcare team for their advice or direction. Share the information in this post with them, so they understand how we set expiration dates. That information can help them discuss the decision with you.

What questions do you have about Neocate & expiration dates? Let us know in the comments below so we can answer your questions.

-Kristin Crosby

Last updated January 14, 2020

Published: 12/17/2016
Rob McCandlish
Hi Kristen, we're not aware of any reports of harm when infants consume recently expired formula. When we hear from parents they've often accidentally used recently expired formula for a few days, or want to know about using recently expired formula just until they can get fresh formula. You're right, we can't recommend it, but it seems unlikely that recently expired formula would make an infant physically ill (like vomiting or diarrhea). Since formula is often the only source of nutrition for infants, it’s very important the nutrients are precise. That's why taking formula with too-low levels of nutrients for a long period of time poses a risk. Hope this answers your question!
While I realize that you do not recommend, nor do you test the effects of giving an expired product, if Neocate Infant DHA/ARA was consumed for a couple days before realizing it was expired, has anything been reported as to what has happened to little ones? Can it cause actual harm? Or is it just not recommended because the nutrients degrade?
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