‘Use-by’ and ‘Best-before’ dates - how are they relevant to CLL?

‘Use-by’ and ‘Best-before’ dates - how are they relevant to CLL?

These dates on packaged food items are even more important to us than they were prior to our CLL diagnosis, but for different reasons. In summary, we should eat foods before the 'Use-by' date to avoid the risk of food poisoning, especially if we are neutropenic. Foods may be eaten after the 'Best-before' date, but the food may not be as nutritious or as tasty if eaten after that date.

Tom Ross, Associate Professor in Food Microbiology, Food Safety Centre, School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania provides more detail here:



Photo: Barley freshly sprouting. With modern GPS units, farmers can now program the location of trees, fences,stock troughs etc in a paddock and have the tractor automatically sow, spray or harvest the crop. The units are so accurate, the following year's crop can be sown between the rows of the previous year's crop.


Featured Content

HealthUnlocked User Stories

How did you improve your fitness, general well-being or cope with your illness?

Share your story

Featured by HealthUnlocked

7 Replies

  • Neil I found this interesting passage in the book Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford regarding cleansing produce for those who may need to remove parasites or microorganisms from raw produce. This pertains to CLL folks in general or may be helpful for those who are neutropenic.

    To remove undesirable organisms soak all greens, roots, fruits and other produce to be eaten raw in a mild solution of apple cider vinegar for 15 minutes. Use one tablespoon of vinegar per gallon.

    Hydrogen peroxide also removes parasites, and denatures poison sprays found on non organic produce more effectively than vinegar. (Spray 3% HP food grade on produce wait 2 min. and rinse) or use a sink soak of 3% HP for 20 min.

    Another method to remove parasites and sprays is a bleach bath. Recommended by the US State Dept. for over seas military families. Like hydrogen peroxide the bleach bath is extremely rich in oxygen and acts as a powerful oxidizer and kills all fungi, viruses, bacteria and parasites. Vegetables soaked in this bath will often taste better and stay fresher longer. 1/2 teaspoon CLOROX beach to a gallon of water. Soak 10 min. and then soak in plain water 10 min. Note only use Clorox bleach.


  • Good tips thanks Kathy!

  • Hi Kathy,

    Would this include bag lettuce, apples, pears? What about potatoes?Thanks... Mitch

  • Hi mpaull,

    Yes, to answer your question all raw produce. This book is really interesting. It talks about the pre washed lettuce we buy ready to eat and it says to wash that as well because it still has lots of bacteria and microbes left lurking in it! (Makes sense because think how fast it goes "bad" after you get bagged salad home?) I think for CLL folks the message is to get really clean. I was thinking would I really soak my produce in a Clorox solution? Seems really radical right? But I have known about how effective Hydrogen peroxide is for your body/ gums etc. so I guess as long as you soak in water after you will be a lot safer. Our produce comes from all over the world. Great for variety but who knows about the handling? When your immune system goes down you are even more likely to pick up parasites! You want to eat a variety of produce and natural fruits/vegetables like Dr. B. Koffman on this website suggests to fuel your body and promote health. If you peal the skin away you lose fiber and some nutrients. It's a "Catch 22". Each plastic bag full of yummy pears or apples could contain problem bacteria or worse for CLL patients. Life just got more complicated but in the end I would rather take this extra step than get sick. I miss the good old days when I could climb trees and just eat the fruit!


  • My dental floss has an expiration date.

  • Yes, there are lots of items for which you wonder whether there needs to be a date applied, as noted by quite a few comments to the article.

    I can see the relevance with dental floss, given you are putting it in your mouth, but I think the conditions in which it had been kept (temperature, humidity, seal intact or not, cleanliness of surroundings), would be at least as relevant!


  • I will never forget picking a piece of fruit up from the bowl of fruit in my grandmother's kitchen. I never thought about washing it. I suppose I assumed that my grandmother would have before putting it out, and I'm sure she had. My grandfather noticed that I hadn't washed it myself. He walked me up the hill to the barn where he showed me the large barrels of pesticides used on fruit. Each had a distinctive skull and cross bones on it. Needless to say, I wash produce now.

    I'm sure that what is used today is more regulated than things were back in the 50s, but, as I now am involved in farming, I know that pesticides are still used. Right now, in California, the Asian Citrus Psillid is a threat to the citrus industry. As some Psyllid have been found in my area, all citrus trees, whether around homes or in orchards, will be sprayed and the ground under them treated - no choice. I have asked several questions about how that affects the actual fruit and am still waiting for answers. There is also mandatory spraying for other pests to protect the various crops. For some reason my avocados are always sprayed just when my apricots and peaches are ripest. Very frustrating!

You may also like...