Understanding date labels

A hand holding an avocado with a date label on it with a bowl of salad in the background

Monday 9 January 2023

The date labels on food packaging can be confusing. It's important to know what they mean, so that you can prevent food from going to waste. By understanding the difference between 'Use By' and 'Best Before', it’s much easier to ensure you use or freeze your food before it spoils!

What’s the difference between ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’?

The 'Best Before' label refers to food quality. Your food will be at its best before the date given, but it will still be safe to eat after the date has passed. Use your senses to make a judgement. A good example is dried pasta, which can last up to three years past its 'Best Before' date!

The 'Use By' label refers to food safety. You must not eat food after this date has passed, even if it looks and smells fine.

Love your freezer

To avoid food going to waste, check date labels regularly and make sure to make the most of your freezer! Food can be frozen right up to (and including) the 'Use By' date.

More ideas to reduce food waste