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Know your dates

fwe-2There is nothing worse than having spent your money on good food only to find it has gone out of date when you go to use it. But what do the different date labels mean and has my food actually gone off??


‘Use-by’ date – A Deadline

This is a key date for food safety – food should be eaten by this date. ‘Use by’ appears on fresh food that goes off such as fish, meat, salads and dairy products. Food should not be used past this date unless it has been frozen.

‘Best-before’ date – A Guideline

This appears on a wide range of longer lasting foods such as tinned, dried and frozen foods. Food is in its best condition up to this date . While food is safe to eat after this date, it may begin to lose its flavour and texture. This is therefore a general rule of thumb.

Sell by and Display until dates….

These are used by shops for stock control and can be ignored by householders. Food is often perfect to eat for a number of days after this date and these dates contribute to a huge amount of waste of good food in the retail trade each year.

When it comes to these dates use your own judgement, check the dates but also check the food…. but remember that food isn’t like Cinderella – it doesn’t go off on the stroke of midnight!