Expired: ‘Sell-by’ and ‘display-until’ dates


Packaging labels (large version)You may have seen in the media that new guidance (opens in new window), which came out yesterday, is calling for clearer date labels on food. This is great news as it will help shoppers save money by not throwing perfectly good food away as well as make it easier to know when food is safe to eat.

Under this guidance, food packaging should only carry either a ‘use-by’ or ‘best-before’ date. ‘Sell-by’ and display-until’ labels are being removed to avoid confusion.

Foods like soft cheese, ready-prepared meals and smoked fish are likely to carry a ‘use-by’ date. Biscuits, jams, pickles, crisps and tinned foods are likely to feature a ‘best-before’ date.

Did you know at least 60 per cent of the 8.3m tonnes of UK household food and drink waste is avoidable? To help prevent this, here are some tips:

  • Get to know what date labels mean, and keep an eye on them.
  • For foods with a ‘use-by’, eat them before the end of the date (never afterwards) or freeze to use them in the future (remember you can also cook food up to the end of the ‘use-by’ date, and then freeze meals to be used later).
  • For foods with a ‘best-before’ date (except eggs, where the ‘best before’ date must be treated as a ‘use by’) remember that if you store them correctly (e.g. putting apples in the fridge) they will last longer and can safely be cooked\eaten even after the date.

We’d like to hear what you think of the new labels guidance, so post your comments here along with any tips for preventing food waste.


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