Hmm! Have you seen these headlines?
Sky News tells us ”Sell-By Date Binned In Push To Cut Food Waste… in a bid to cut £12billion worth of good food” going to waste. The Daily Mail front page tells that simpler labels will save families up to £680 a year. Wow that’s a lot of money.
Can you believe we waste so much food? But there has been confusion about the various ways food is labelled and what exactly this means for you and me.
Some foods are labelled with a Display Until or Sell By date as well as either a Use By or Best Before date. It is only the Use By or Best Before date that we need to look at and it is useful to understand the difference. The other dates are for the shops to help them with stock control. The Use By date is the one you and I need to take most notice of. This is the date used for food safety reasons and soon to help food producers label their foods they will have a decision tree ‘asking a series of important questions around the production of a food product from a microbiological perspective’. In other words could it make us ill!
The Best Before date is a guidance date to show when food may start to deteriorate in quality. This doesn’t mean we can’t still eat it.
Now the truth is I know I should be pleased that people all over the country are reading these headlines and might think twice next time they pull something from the cupboard with a best before date of last month. Maybe now they won’t just sling it, they might at least give it a sniff and a lick and 9 times out of 10 will realise it will go down a treat. Yes, I’m delighted, I’m jumping for joy (with a little help from Yolanda).
I’m a tad concerned I might have to hunt for my supper a bit harder from now. Oh for the rich pickings that ‘Best Before’ date afforded me!