Your Guide to ‘Best Before Dates’ And What They Mean
Written by Mums Say Radio on April 30, 2020
If you anything like me, as soon as the Best Before date has expired, you’ll be throwing it. However, food Manufacturers Association announced that they have implemented more standardised labels in regards to expiration dates. Now, the majority of food will be limited to just two labels: “use by” and “best if used by.” Best before
The Rule of Thumb
Food that has passed its best before is safe to eat, but the flavour and texture may change over time. Use your own common sense and preferences to assess it. A sniff and taste test is the best way to do this.
Food that has passed its use-by date is not safe to eat.
Use by dates are about safety
A use by date on food is about safety. This is the most important date to remember. Foods can be eaten until the use by date but not after. You will see use by dates on food that goes off quickly, such as meat products or ready-to-eat salads.
For the use by date to be a valid guide, you must carefully follow storage instructions. For example, if the instructions on the packaging tell you to refrigerate after opening, you should keep the food in a fridge at 5°C or below. Find out more about chilling your food correctly.
After the use by date, don’t eat it, cook it or freeze it. The food could be unsafe to eat or drink, even if it has been stored correctly and looks and smells fine. A lot of foods (Opens in a new window), including meat and milk, can be frozen before the use-by date though so plan ahead.
Best before dates are about quality
The best before date, sometimes shown as BBE (best before end), is about quality and not safety. The food will be safe to eat after this date but may not be at its best. Its flavour and texture might not be as good. Best before dates appear on a wide range of foods including:
- frozen foods
- dried foods
- tinned foods
The best before date will only be accurate if the food is stored according to the instructions on the packaging.
There you go,