How fresh is this item ?
All Herbalife items have a lot number printed on them. The 3rd digit in the lot number is the year of manufacture, so you can easily tell how old an item is.
2002 #xx2xxxxxx (with an older label)
2001 #xx1xxxxxx (with an older label)
2000 #xx0xxxxxx (with an older label)
1999 #xx9xxxxxx (with an older label)
Is the label's copyright year an easier way to tell how old an item is ?
No, it's not that accurate. The lot number method described above is the best way to see how old an item is.
For example, it is very common to have an item with a copyright year of 2005 on the label, but have a lot# of 2010. This probably occurs when the product remains the same one year to the next and HL doesn't re-order new labels.
What about the reverse case, is it possible for an item be older than the year on the label indicates ? Surprizingly yes, it can !! For example, I have seen items with new labels and older lot#s. I'd guess this occurs towards the end of a year when HL gets its new labels before the new year starts, sort of like car model years.
What is the shelf life on this item ?
This is a very subjective topic and each seller has an opinion (I see claims of 2 years, 4 years, 10 years, etc). In reality, some Herbalife items are very age sensitive (those with any moisture or oils) and some are very stable (dry powders and tablets). Age sensitive items are the Aloe concentrate/drink, Protein Bars, Herbalifeline, and Vitamins. Fresher is obviously better on these items. On the stable items, they have much longer shelf lives. I have recently been using some old 2001 NRG tablets (5 to 6 years old), and they are fine.
I pull all old items from my regular "fresh" stock and list them separately. All age sensitive items will have their year of manufacture in my listing so you can make the call.
What Herbalife items have expiration dates printed on them ?
I have seen expiration dates on some of the older skin/hair care products and some of the older Herbalifeline, Cardio ToconOx, Aloe Drink, and Aloe Concentrate products. Most of the newer skin/hair care products now have expiration dates. I have also seen expiration dates on Canadian/European supplements and shakes (usually 2-3 years from manufacture date).
update 2013: Herbalife has just started putting expiration dates on drink items (shakes, teas, liftoff, H30, etc).