Understanding your food labels

Food labels LFHW

Food packaging contains a wealth of information. Get to know your dates to make the most of all the food you buy.

Use by

Food can be safely eating up to the end of the ‘use by’ date if it’s been stored correctly. Don’t eat it after this date even if it looks and smells fine as it could put your health at risk.

Best before

These dates refer to quality rather than food safety. When the date has passed, the food won’t be unsafe but might begin to lose its flavour or texture. Bread for example might have gone stale but it’s still safe to eat.

Providing eggs are cooked thoroughly, they can be eaten a day or two after their ‘best before’ date.

Display until / Sell by

You can ignore these dates as they’re aimed at shop staff not customers.

For all foods

Check the packaging for information about storage and follow the instructions such as ‘eat within three days of opening’.  To extend the life of food beyond its date, freeze it before the date and defrost and use within 24 hours. Check that the food is safe for freezing on the packaging.

With thanks to Love Food Hate Waste

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