Tip — 22.12.2017

What the difference is between use by, sell by and best before dates

You go into a store to pick up your favourite snack and look for the date you should eat it by. Use by, best before, sell by? What does it all mean?

Dates on products sold in stores can be confusing. Respect Food is all about making the most of all of your food. Our ethos and technologies are based on one belief: reducing wastage and helping the planet. Every small bit of food being thrown away adds up and has an impact on our pockets and on our planet. With so much food being thrown away in an edible condition, dates on packaging have never mattered more.

So what is the difference? Read our simple guide to find out.

1. Use by
This is a guide as to which you should use your food up by. Foods can be eaten up to this date but will be unsafe to eat after. The use by date is usually used for products with a very short shelf life, such as meat, dairy and ready-made salads.

2. Best before
Best before refers to quality. The food will be at its best quality before the date printed, and will start to deteriorate after it. This is usually printed on tinned foods, dried foods, and products with a very long shelf life.

3. Sell by
The sell-by date is used by grocers and supermarkets as a guide for the time they should display the product until. It does not refer to when the food will be going bad.

So next time keep on the lookout for these terms, and see how you can stop throwing your food away! Click here to learn more about how much money you can save by reducing food waste.

Sources:
https://www.food.gov.uk/science/microbiology/use-by-and-best-before-dates
https://www.eatbydate.com/sell-by-date-definition/

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