What is the difference between “best before” and “use by” food labels?

SHOPPERS have admitted they don’t know the difference between “use first” and “best first” dates on supermarket staples.

We explain what each one means.

    Morrisons has caused controversy after removing the 'use by' date from its milk in favor of a 'sniff test'


Morrisons has caused controversy after removing the ‘use by’ date from its milk in favor of a ‘sniff test’Credit: Getty – Contributor

Morrisons Shoppers were split yesterday after the announcement it will remove the ‘use by’ date on the milk in favor of ‘sniff test’.

The supermarket said it would label it ‘best before’ – and encouraged shoppers not to give up milk without tasting it first.

Morrisons said the move was intended reduce food waste because millions of pints are thrown away unnecessarily each year.

But not all were impressed, with one shopper pointing out that loss of smell is a common Covid symptom.

Here’s our guide to understanding common but confusing labels when shopping at your supermarket.

‘use before’ date

Simply put, a “use by” date is about food safety, and a “best first” date advises shoppers about product quality.

Follow Food Standards Agency, you must not eat, cook, or freeze foods and beverages past their use-by date.

That’s because they’re gone – and may have grown bacteria that could make you sick.

The agency added: “Food may not be safe to eat or drink, even if it has been stored properly and has appearance and aroma.”

However, you can freeze dozens of household staples from meat to dairy if you want to avoid spoiling before the big day.

‘best first’ date

What is often confusing for shoppers is the ‘best before buy’ date found on supermarket products.

This is about food quality – not safety.

So you can trust your judgment of whether a ‘best before’ date is still safe to eat.

But don’t expect it to be as fresh as it used to be.

The Food Standards Agency states: “Food will be safe to eat after this date but may not be at its best.

“Its taste and texture may not be good.”

Food eaten after that date won’t make you sick – maybe just a bit of a disappointment.

Dates ‘show until’ and ‘sell by’

Shoppers could be forgiven for checking these things out before buying, as they are commonly found in supermarkets.

However, they are simply instructions for store employees and say nothing about the quality or food safety of an item.

All of this points to a store’s inventory control.

They are also not a legal requirement.

Stick to ‘use first’ and ‘best first’ at the supermarket – and remember the difference.

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https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/5069680/use-by-best-before-difference/ What is the difference between “best before” and “use by” food labels?


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