Food can be eaten for up to six months after the best-before date and weeks beyond its use-by date, according to consumer watchdogs. The research also found that ignoring some of the recommendations on best-before and use-by labels could save millions of tonnes of produce from being unnecessarily sent to landfill sites.
However, while the rules can be bent for some products, those on fresh and processed meat, poultry and fish should not.
Fpcfreshtalkdaily.co.uk reported on microbiologist and food safety consultant Dr Slim Dinsdale being enlisted to look at the best-before or use-by dates on popular products. The government advice is that food is safe to eat past its best-before date but not after a use-by date.
But Dr Dinsdale, of Food Safety Experts, said: "We are far too ready to throw foods away because we go by the use-by date, when, in fact, they're absolutely fine to eat beyond this point." Dinsdale said eggs could be eaten one week after their best-before date if kept at room temperature and for one month beyond it when refrigerated, as long as they have the red lion safety stamp.
Fruit and vegetables can apparently be used for weeks after its purchase if they look fine, albeit with some exceptions. Prepared salads that are unopened should be eaten no more than one week after the use-by date, because of the potential for the growth of listeria. The bits of potatoes which turn green should be cut out because that is the result of the chemical activity of solanine, which is toxic in excess.