What Are Pull Dates?

Pull dates are provided voluntarily by the manufacturer, which tells how long the product is likely to remain in its absolute best quality when unopened. It is often stamped on
21 Nov 2016 11:00
What Are Pull Dates?
Samples of pull dates.

Pull dates are provided voluntarily by the manufacturer, which tells how long the product is likely to remain in its absolute best quality when unopened.

It is often stamped on a perishable or semi-perishable item of food, such as milk to indicate the date after which it should not be sold.

Other references to the same issue are-

  • Best before date;
  • Used By date;
  • Expiry date.


Do pull dates matter?

Recognising pull dates does matter in the sense that it provides consumers with the time frame a perishable or semi-perishable item is intended by the manufacturer to be consumed.

It also guides consumers to identify the age of the item being in circulation for sale.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) the following may be worth noting –

  • high-acid canned goods, like tomatoes and citrus fruits, will keep for up to 1½ years;
  • Low-acid canned goods—that’s pretty much everything else, including vegetables, meat, and fish—will last for up to 5 years;
  • Canned foods are sterile, so they won’t host bacteria, but eventually the taste and texture of the items inside will deteriorate. Keep them at room temperature in a dark place, like a cabinet or a pantry may assist in sustaining their taste and texture.


Some common illegal conducts related to pull dates.


Common forms of illegal pull dates tempering in the local market include but not limited to the following –

  1. Traders repackaging damaged packs, pull dates are tempered by printed stickers to cover existing pull dates with new ones;
  2. Traders erasing of stamped dates on bottles and other packages using ink erasing chemicals and re-stamped with new dates.

Some overseas marketplace heard from people who have worked in the bakery, meat and produce departments of a number of different grocery stores, both chains and independent.

They described a number of tricks that supermarkets employ to make food appear fresh.

These tactics include grinding old meat with fresher meat, marinating old meat in sauces that mask the smell, cutting mould off fruit and vegetables for party trays, and cutting cakes in half to facilitate a faster sale after the best-before has passed.

One insider also says his store took meat that had gone brown from sitting out, and dipped it in blood to make it look redder.

Others said they would take ‘moldy’ fruit off custard tarts, replace it and glaze it to make it look fresh.



What does the Commerce Commission Decree 2010 (CCD2010) say?

Section 87J of CCD2010 states:

(2) A person must not sell, display for sale, or cause to be distributed for the purposes of sale any perishable or semi-perishable goods in package form unless the pull date is marked on the package.
(3) In this section: ‘pull date’ means the last date on which perishable or semi-perishable goods are to be sold.


What to do when you encounter a trader offering for sale items without pull dates?

1.Raise the issue in writing with the supplier;

  1. Report the matter to the Fiji Commerce Commission by:
  2. Personally visiting any of the Commission’s office with evidences to prove your allegation;
  3. Email your complaint to or write to the Chief Executive Officer, Fiji Commerce Commission, P O Box 5031, Raiwaqa or call 3372178 or 8911619.
  4. Or visit the Commission’s website and download the complaint and statement forms from it, fill them, scan and sent to


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