Sauce pot sold in Belgium that lists a "use within 2 weeks after opening" date in Dutch and a "use within 4 weeks after opening" date in French

This black bean sauce lists a different "use by" dates depending on whether you read the French or Dutch section, with the French section reading 4 weeks and the Dutch version only 2 weeks. Could there be a culinary reason for this wildly different "use within X weeks after opening" shelf life? Or is this merely a printing error?

  • 1
    Different local laws. It's not actually going to go off faster in the Netherlands than France. That looks like Lee Kum Kee. UK instructions also give it two weeks. In practise it's good for two months so long as you don't put a contaminated spoon in it… lawyer CYA in action.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 19:18
  • 1
    @Tetsujin From what I understand this is a product specifically for the Belgian market, and I don't think Wallonia and Flanders have different food safety laws because that's handled by a federal agency.
    – Nzall
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 20:31
  • @Nzall they might still have cut & pasted from the Dutch and French versions of the label. Or determined that Flemish people are more sensitive to off flavors than Wallonians. Or just did sloppy work...
    – The Photon
    Commented Nov 6, 2023 at 21:01
  • 5
    I mentioned this in a Dutch/Belgian tech discord, and one of the members just so happened to be meeting with the Belgian "Federal Agency for Food Safety" today (Tuesday 7th of November). I'll post an update when I hear back from him.
    – Nzall
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 7:52
  • Not a native speaker but the French seems grammatically very akward to me, so maybe a very low quality translation transformed 'twee' into a 4.
    – quarague
    Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 20:56

1 Answer 1


As promised in a comment, I have an update that I'm posting as an answer for formatting and length reasons.

Someone in a Discord I frequent had an unrelated meeting with the Belgian FAVV, the Federal Agency for Food Safety today, and he mentioned the product. I'm sharing a Dutch screencap below of what he shared about the meeting:

enter image description here

Loose translation:

The initial expectation is that the label was also made in China and the error occurred there, but it has generated a lot of laughter in people from the FAVV, the Department of Health, Sciensano (Belgian institution researching various health and safety situations) and a number of people from the corporate world ;-).
The FAVV has both a phone number and an email address where this can be reported

And then it mentions the locations where this can be reported.

  • Did they say which expiration date is the correct one? Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 0:28
  • 1
    @fyrepenguin I don't think so. Those dates are heavily dependent on the product, the ingredients and the preparation process. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to put down the right dates on the product.
    – Nzall
    Commented Nov 8, 2023 at 16:56

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