What does “best if used by” mean to Keurig?

Posted on May 11, 2011 by


Anyone who knows me well enough will stay away until I have my first two cups of coffee in the morning. I thought about purchasing a Keurig for a long time and convinced myself they’re overpriced.  Keurig may have pulled off the greatest marketing coup since the invention of toner cartridges. They could give away Keurig brewers for the margin on the K-cups.

Last week a friend told me about a local wholesaler she found, Kenoza Coffee that sells K-cups wholesale to the public. It brings the price down to less than 54 cents per cup. That caught my interest. I dropped a subtle hint to my husband and lo and behold come Sunday morning there was a large gift-wrapped box waiting for me. Before you comment, I’m allergic to flowers.

The unit included a variety pack of twelve K-cups to get started. As I was about to insert the first one in the brewer, I noticed it was several months past the “best if used by” date. I checked all twelve and found half were past their dates. Being the good food safety professional, I phoned Keurig Customer Service this morning to inquire. A representative who identified herself as Shoronda, a “Keurig Specialist,” stated the best if used by date is not an expiration date; the product is good for 6 – 9 months after the date.

Now, I was intrigued. I submitted an email inquiry to Keurig for qualification and received the following response from Kathy Kelley, Director, At Home Customer Service: “The Best Used By Date is a guideline for maximum freshness recommended by the Roaster. It is not an expiration date.”

In all fairness to Keurig, they are replacing the K-Cups but I have to wonder if I wasn’t a member of the media, would they have?

Posted in: food safety