The Truth about Shelf Life, Expiration Dates, Manufacturing Dates


Here is your definitive guide to shelf life, manufacturing dates, expiration dates and "best-by" dates from the professionals at Plum Flower and Mayway. Questions? Click Ask Susan & Derek . We make it easy for you! 

Shelf Life and “Best Before Date”
Shelf life is the length of time that products are given before they are considered unsuitable for sale, use, or consumption. Mayway generally uses a best before date for its prepared products. We do not have “Best Before” dates on our herbs and herb powders.

Stability is dependent upon a host of factors: whether it is an herb, a concentrated powder, or a pill or tablet; the nature of the individual ingredients and their rates of oxidation; the packaging and storage conditions, etc. All of these factors play a role in how stable and effective a product will be.

Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, which have identified active ingredients that are used as a measurement of chemical stability which in turn determines efficacy, and therefore “shelf-life,” it is much more difficult to establish a product life for traditional Chinese medicines. The FDA final GMP rule for dietary supplements does not require the establishment of shelf-life, product expiration, or best before dates.

Any such date placed on a product label must be supported by data, reserve samples must be maintained for one year past the shelf-life date, and dating claims must be tested by either accelerated and/or long-term studies.

Mayway does not have stability testing data and therefore does not make claims as to the shelf life of the herbs, powdered herb, and extract powders it sells. Subsequently, we do not provide expiration or “Best Before” dates for these products.