Arbitrary expiration dates are also commonly applied by companies to product coupons, promotional offers and credit cards.In these contexts, the expiration date is chosen for business reasons or to provide some security function rather than any product safety concern. The legal definition and usage of the term expiration date will vary between countries and products.Sometimes the packaging process involves using pre-printed labels, making it impractical to write the best before date in a clearly visible location.
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency "Expiration dates are required only on certain foods that have strict compositional and nutritional specifications which might not be met after the expiration date." In Canada expiration dates must be used on the following food items (list and comments copied from CFIA website): The concern is that after the expiration date has passed, the food may not have the same nutrient content as specified on the packaging and for the listed regulated products, the nutritional content is quite important.
The CFIA recommends that food should be discarded and should not be bought, sold or eaten beyond the stated expiration date.
Food that has passed its sell by or display until date, but has not yet reached its use by / best before date will still be edible, assuming it has been stored correctly.
It is common practice in large stores to throw away such food, as it makes the stock control process easier; another common practice is for wholesalers to repurchase the expired product and resell it to discount stores at much lower clearance sale prices.
The rational is that car seats are subjected to heat, cold, sun exposure, abuse by the children, and long term storage between children, all of which can degrade the structure and function of the car seat and cause a failure during a crash event.
Further, beyond the expiration date the manufacturer will no longer be monitoring the safety of the seat through testing.
Transport Canada advises to destroy an expired car seat and dispose of it at a landfill or recycling facility.
Never give an expired seat to someone else or to charity.
This contrasts with a best before date which is an indication of how long properly stored prepackaged food is expected to retain its "freshness, taste, nutritional value, or any other qualities claimed by the manufacturer." Passing a best before date is not necessarily a reason to discard the food.
"Sell by" and "manufactured on" dates are related concepts that may guide the consumer. For example, in Canada, all children are required to be secured in an infant car seat while in a motor vehicle that is in motion.
Most stores will rotate stock by moving the products with the earliest dates to the front of shelving units, which encourages customers to buy them first and hopefully saves them from having to be either marked down or thrown away, both of which would result in financial loss.