Love Food Hate Waste (England) - recipes and tips to help you waste less food

Making food date labels a friend, instead of a foe

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: Making food date labels a friend, instead of a foe

Date labels

Do you find yourself hovering over packets of food wondering whether or not it has passed its best? Love Food Hate Waste can help us all decipher when food is good, bad or just plain ugly.

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Many of us struggle when it comes to working out whether it’s still safe to eat the pizza we bought last week or whether the eggs in the fridge have taken a turn for the worst. And this confusion is costing us; we throw away around 3 million tonnes of food and drink every year before we even got round to cooking or serving it: partly down to our confusion over date labels and storage guidance. Simply by making the most of the food we have already bought the average family can save almost £60 a month.

Date marks such as 'display until' and ‘sell by’ sometimes appear near or next to the 'best before' or 'use by' date. They are used by some shops to help with stock control and are instructions for shop staff, not shoppers. You can ignore these dates. To find out exactly what's what when it comes to date labels, have a look at our handy guide.

Did you know?

  • To extend the life of food beyond its date, freeze it before the date and defrost and use it within 24 hours.
  • Providing eggs are cooked thoroughly, they can be eaten a day or two after their ‘best before’ date.
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