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Dietary supplements come in all shapes and forms. The thousands of supplements available in the market today have all sorts of appealing packaging designs, but there are a few details that remain common among them all. One such aspect is the supplement labeling on the products that must be strictly in accordance with the guidelines set by the regulatory bodies responsible for ensuring supplements’ safety and quality. Although nearly all supplements have an ‘mfg date’ mentioned on the label, not everyone knows the mfg meaning in its entirety.
When picking up a supplement bottle from the aisle, everyone is keen to select the one with the farthest expiration date. However, this may or may not indicate how fresh the product is. Understanding mfg meaning is essential for choosing a product that still offers its optimal efficacy.
What Does MFG Stand for?
‘Mfg’ stands for the manufacturing date. Previously, USP guidelines required supplement manufacturers to state an expiration date, ‘Best before’, ‘Use by’ or ‘Sell by’, date. The guidelines were revised by the FDA to include an ‘mfg’ date as well. All manufacturers following the FDA’s GMPs will have an mfg date mentioned on the product itself. The mfg date is an indicator of the date when the product was manufactured. To better understand the mfg meaning consider a product with “MFG 091219”. It means that the product was manufactured on September 12, 2019. Usually, supplements must be consumed within 2 years of the mentioned mfg. This general guideline is different for probiotics that need to be consumed within a year or 18 months of being manufactured.
The Significance of Using Mfg
Many people confuse mfg with the date of expiry. However, mfg meaning is quite different from ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ dates. While the products are in their optimal potency for a good couple of years after the specified mfg date, they start losing their efficacy once they enter the ‘best before’ date. Knowing the mfg meaning can make all the difference in determining when to discard a bottle of supplements.
FDA has made it imperative for manufacturers to mention mfg. But several supplements available in the market may have an additional expiration date; however, there’s little value in stating that date if it’s not backed by rigorous stability testing performed on all ingredients. The expiration date means nothing if information about the manufacturing and storage conditions is not stated. Mfg, on the other hand, gives an accurate time of manufacture, and the consumers can easily determine if the product is too old to have maintained its effectiveness.
How Old is Too Old for Supplements?
Most of the supplements do have a longer shelf life as compared to several medications. As a rule of thumb, supplements are safe and potent until 2 years after the mfg date, and probiotics can retain their characteristics, as mentioned on the label, for as long as 12-18 months. However, this greatly depends on the quality of raw materials used and other factors such as the storage conditions. It can also vary depending on the supplement form and composition. For example, liquids may go bad fairly easily under inappropriate storage conditions as compared to tablets. Similarly, some ingredients, like certain oils, may quickly lose their efficacy when exposed to light and air. In general, the supplement packaging can better guide regarding the shelf life of different supplements.
Meeting Standards at BL Bio Lab
BL Bio Lab strictly follows the manufacturing practices specified by the FDA. This is why all the products manufactured at the FDA-registered facility of BL Bio Lab bear an accurate mfg date. To ensure the maximum shelf life of supplements, the raw materials at BL Bio Lab are collected fresh after each order is placed. The in-house quality assurance team makes sure that the supplements are tested thoroughly for their quality and potency. Quality tests are carried throughout the manufacturing process to keep ingredients from losing their efficacy. The raw material that does not meet the stringent quality criteria set by BL Bio Lab is discarded right away. The R&D, on the other hand, is responsible for developing formulations that can make it through stability testing. The products sitting in the storage are also re-tested as required so that the product is still as good when it reaches the end consumer. However, it is important that the consumers understand the mfg meaning, and contact the supplier if they have any apprehensions or confusion about the stated mfg.