I bought a bottle of juice today, and the "Best Before" date it's "11 MA 23". I always see "MA" as for March, but the store staff said that was May.
What is your opinion?
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Looks like the store staff was right, MA=May. This is from an answer to a similar question on a Canadian website:
Other sources seem to confirm that these two-letter month abbreviations were first used in Canada.
Edit: Here's further confirmation from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency:
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Ma is may.
As someone alrady said, the abbreviations are carefully chosen so that they work in both English and French. Ma for mai or May. Mr for mars or March.
It is ambiguous for English speakers. From other answers here I see it causes widespread confusion. Any standard that causes widespread confusion is probably not a good standard.
In the part of the world I inhabit, "Best before" dates are about peak flavour/texture/aroma, they are not about safety.
Best before About flavour and texture Use by Health and safety Sell by Shop stock rotation Display until Shop stock rotation
From a BBC article
You bought a bottle of juice today (04/18/11) and the best-before (BB) date reads "11 MA 23". Well, no reputable store would display a bottle of juice—a highly perishable food—that is over a month past its BB date. Thus, the MA in the BB date must stand for May.
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