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