DLC, DLUO, DDM… What's the difference?

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20% of food waste in households comes from poor management or a misunderstanding of expiry dates. These are known by the acronyms DLC (Usage Limit Date), and DDM (Minimum Durability Date) which replaces DLUO (Optimal Use Limit Date) to avoid confusion with DLC.

The expiry dates affixed to the majority of perishable products are intended to protect us from the risk of food poisoning and avoid inappropriate waste. The DLC or DDM (DLUO) are information to be taken very seriously, as well as the storage conditions (dry, in a fridge, at room temperature, etc.) that the manufacturer must imperatively indicate. However, it is common for consumers to get lost in all this information which is sometimes mislabeled.

Here is everything you need to know about expiry dates in order to put an end to food waste and preserve our health.

The DLC is imperative on perishable products

Definition

The DLC, or Consumption Limit Date, applies to fragile perishable foodstuffs on sale, which in time are likely to cause food poisoning once the date has passed. The DLC is translated by the words "Use by" and "Use by", followed by the day, month and year. The shelf life is set by the regulations in terms of health checks. Once the date has passed, traders have the obligation to destroy the food in order to eliminate any danger.

Foods concerned by the DLC

Most perishable products kept cool have a BBD. These are sensitive foodstuffs, often rich in water. Among them, we find for example:

  • Dairy products,
  • Fresh meats, fish and seafood,
  • industrial dishes,
  • Cooked meats,
  • fresh fruit juices,
  • Cheeses,
  • Fruits and vegetables in salads,
  •  Any previously unpacked food. Be careful, once started, a food must be consumed within 2 days, even if the DLC is further away...

Little tricks so as not to spoil the products with a DLC

We have all happened to find food products hidden at the bottom of our fridge and whose use-by date has largely been exceeded. This is sometimes explained by poor storage in the fridge or too many groceries. In order to change our bad habits, here are some tips to limit waste:

  • First in, first out! It is a question of setting up a system of rotation between the foods, so that the products with close DLC are placed in front of the shelves of the fridge.
  • Make a realistic shopping list with meal plans ahead of time. This will avoid buying too much food that will end up in the trash...

The DDM or DLUO on products without risk to health

Definition

The DDM, or Minimum Durability Date, is affixed to foodstuffs that are not subject to a DLC. Unlike DLC, DDM products have the advantage of not being dangerous to health once the date has passed. They can be consumed after the date mentioned. However, the quality of a food can be altered, resulting in a loss of flavor and smell, or a change in texture, presenting no risk to health. This is why we often find these products for sale on anti-food waste applications like ACT2WIN.

The DDM or DLUO results in the words "Best before" on the packaging.

Which products are affected by the DDM?

We generally find dry, dehydrated, freeze-dried and dehydrated packaged products, but also:

  • dry cakes,
  • aperitif products,
  • Tin cans (provided they are not dented!)
  • compotes,
  • Fruit juices,
  • Pasta, rice, semolina, legumes and purees,
  • Frozen products…

Some products lose their specific qualities after exceeding the MDD, namely: specific diet foods for children, which lose their vitamin content, ground coffee which loses its flavor or even industrial pastries which lose their taste qualities.

Why do some foods not have DDM?

Certain foodstuffs do not need an MDD inscription given their composition or their nature, going so far as to prohibit the affixing of an MDD to these foods. This concerns vinegars, cooking salts, confectionery, chewing gums, solid sugars, wines and other derivatives that are not made from grapes and drinks with a minimum alcohol content of 10%.

Fresh fruits and vegetables that have not been peeled and cut and products from a bakery / pastry shop have neither DLC nor DDM, because they are sensitive products that must be consumed within 24 hours.

Freeze your food to limit food waste

Freezing perishable foods is a very effective way to preserve your products, provided you follow a few basic rules:

  • Never freeze a food so the DLC is exceeded,
  • Respect the freezing time according to the products (meats, vegetables, breads, etc.),
  • Never refreeze thawed food,
  • Be well informed in order to know the list of foods that cannot be frozen!

To learn more about freezing perishable products, click here and access our detailed guide!

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