Wrap issues guidance on ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates

Update for businesses aims to reduce food waste.
28 April 2020 , Katie Coyne

Knowing the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates will make a huge difference during the pandemic, recycling and re-use charity Wrap has said.

It has produced an updated guide to explain the differences and what foods are in the ‘best before’ category. Wrap wants to see less food waste and more food safely redistributed to those in need.

Aimed at food business operators, the guide explains that the term ‘best before’ is a quality guide and lists certain foods that can be safely consumed beyond this date, and for how long.

Four key food categories with best before dates are covered: uncut fresh produce, bread and bakery, ambient products packaged in cans, jars, packets; and frozen foods. Visual inspection of the food and packaging is also emphasized.

Also included in the guidance is how to safely redistribute food beyond its ‘use by’ date by freezing.

Wrap director Peter Maddox said: “We estimate that over a typical year, around half a billion pounds worth of food is likely to be thrown away from homes linked to a Best Before date, that’s 180,000 tonnes.

“Knowing the difference between Best Before and Use By is one of the biggest ways to stop food waste in the home. A Best Before date is only a quality guide, and you can use your judgement as to whether it’s still good to eat.

“Use by is the safety mark and there to protect us. No food should be sold, redistributed or eaten after the use by.”

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