Facts etc.: Best Before Dates

By Cat O'Dea

In last week’s newsletter, we spoke about the common misconception of Best Before Dates. The dates on food packaging can often be misleading and it means that a lot of the time, we get confused by what we can and cannot eat.

To clarify - Best Before Dates are not the same as Use By Dates.

The strange thing is, for a long time, they were depicted as so. It has only been after fairly recent information, that consumers have been made aware that there is a distinguishable difference. I too can put my hand up and admit I've chucked something which, while looking absolutely fine, I threw away regardless because the doomed sticker told me so. 

The Best Before Date is an indicator of quality rather than safety and it doesn't mean it cannot be consumed. Instead of throwing it out, we can use our senses to see and smell if the food can still be used. If there are no signs of spoilage like mould, they are perfectly fine to consume and they can be used in all kinds of ways.

Studies revealed that 39% of us don’t bother to use our senses to decide if an item has passed its ‘Best Before’ which leads to so much food being thrown away unnecessarily. In fact, it contributes to approximately 9,000,000 tonnes of waste every year that could easily be avoided. [TooGoodToGo]

And while it's great that on a wider scale, supermarkets and food brands are taking greater responsibility for their contribution to environmental damage, it is also our responsibility as consumers to make small changes to our daily habits which, collectively, have a huge impact. Roasting that slightly softer carrot or toasting that slice of stale bread all contributes to reducing food waste. These items might not be in their prime, but hey, sometimes we all have days we don't look our best. It doesn't mean they still can't taste good. 

Look, Smell, Taste, Don't Waste. We can be part of the solution, instead of the problem.

Check out Chloë's recipe for a Baked Cheeseboard with Pear & Grapes for some inspo to rejuvenate those neglected groceries.