Shelf life is serious science: Read labels for expiration dates and other key product information

A scientist's hand holds a Nutrilite supplement bottle and the expiration date is visible on the bottom of it.

We’ve all done it: Stood in front of the refrigerator taking out items one at a time, giving them a sniff and then checking for an expiration date. The thought of biting into a deli sandwich when the meat has turned or taking a gulp of sour milk is enough to make anyone pause.

While you may be examining the contents of your refrigerator and your pantry for expired items, you should also take the same care to ensure the maximum freshness and potency of your vitamins and supplements.

Paying attention to the printed expiration dates and storage recommendations on your dietary supplements is the best way to ensure they remain as safe and effective as the label promises.

“If a product is expired, dispose of it immediately – no matter the brand,” said Mark Gammage, manager of chemistry stability investigations at Amway. “It’s that simple.”

Amway makes it easy

For consumers of Amway™ brands, complying is simple: Expiration dates are printed on the bottom of most Nutrilite™ containers. Dates are set individually, based on how long ingredients in that product retain their nutritive value.

A female researcher carefully conducts her Nutrilite testing in a lab.

“Putting together a single product for the world is a difficult proposition,” said Mark Proefke, manager of analytical sciences at Amway. “When we formulate Nutrilite nutrition products, design packaging and set expiration dates, we must consider the conditions in which a product might be stored, before and after it’s been opened.”

Products might be tested in environmental chambers that simulate extreme conditions, like temperature or humidity, so the product developer can see how it reacts and adjust the formulation accordingly.

Test and retest

At Amway, scientists conduct roughly 30,000 tests annually to ensure products meet the Amway global safety standard. They are testing products for odor, appearance, viscosity and stability of analytes – the ingredients imperative to its effectiveness.

“Stability is critical to meeting our ‘Right First Time’ safety metrics,” Gammage said. “We produce data proving stability through expiration date, to determine shelf life for unopened products and product longevity once opened.

“It’s not guesswork; it’s science.”

For answers to questions about shelf life, visit or contact Amway Customer Service at 1 (800) 253-6500.


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