According to the UK Food Standards Agency the ‘use by’ date is all about the safety of eating the food, so if the packaging has a ‘use by’ date, then you should never eat it once that date has passed as it is not safe to do so. Even if the food looks or smells ok, it could have bacteria in it which could cause serious illness. However, the ‘best before date’ is all about the quality of the food and is perfectly safe to still consume years after the date has passed.
This is where many people get confused and end up throwing away perfectly good food as they think that the food is unsafe having passed it’s’ best before date’ when actually the food is still safe and tasty too. Of course, you have to be sensible as some foods with a best before date grow moulds such as bread or fruit, so if the food has mould growing on it then I would not personally recommend eating it. I have, however, eaten a packet of crisps before which was three months past its best before date and it tasted just as fresh as any other packet of crisps.
Tips on wasting less food
* If you have food with a ‘use by’ date which you know you will not have time to eat you can freeze it instead of throwing it away. Then when you want to use it, just defrost and consume within 24 hours. * You can freeze bread and defrost or put straight into the toaster.
* Bananas freeze well without their skins. * Cheese can be grated and put into a ziplock bag and then frozen. * Milk can be frozen and if you only have a little, you could freeze in an ice cube tray and add straight to tea and coffee from the freezer. * The Love Food Hate Waste website has lots of useful recipes for using up leftovers to help save money and eliminate wasting food.
* Planning your meals and using a shopping list can help to keep you from buying food you do not need and help to reduce waste.
Do you have any tips on using up leftovers to reduce waste?
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