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Expiration date
January 1999

An expiration date indicates the date after which a product may no longer contain the labeled potency levels. This date reflects the disintegration rate of its ingredients as well as any overage built into the product (see dosage amounts).

Some products have no expiration date on the label. Others include a date, but it is only an estimate. In either case, this may be because of neglect on the part of the manufacturer or simply because the shelf life of some substances is not yet well known.

While expiration dates are desirable, they are not always necessary. Certain substances such as calcium carbonate have an extremely long shelf life. Lack of an expiration date in this case is inconsequential.

Because of these uncertainties, it is always best to ask your manufacturer or dealer to explain how expiration dates were determined as well as to justify why they are missing when this is the case.

Lot numbers

Quality manufacturers include a lot number on all their products. Lot numbers are used to trace a product's journey through the supply chain so that the origin of its ingredients can be determined. This is useful for checking the quality of the product or in the rare event that a product needs to be recalled.

Manufacturers should have documentation available that clearly describes how to interpret the lot number and thus to determine the product's origin.



More about reading the label:

New labeling rules in effect

Health benefit claims

Ingredients and recommended dosages

Dosage units

Dosage amounts

Expiration date

Lot number

Dissolution and bioavailability

Certification claims

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(c) Copyright 1999-2003 Dietary Supplement Quality Initiative. For permission to reprint, please contact our editor.