“Best Before” and “Use By” – What is the difference?

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Do you know the difference between the labels ‘use by’ and ‘best before’? A lot of people find the dates on food labels confusing, especially when there is more than one date listed on food packaging. To reduce the amount of food waste and save some money, we should learn what these labels mean!

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Most packaged foods have a ‘use-by’ or ‘best before’ date labels on the box, wrapper or bottle. The truth is, they often have nothing to do with food safety.

Has this ever happened to you before↓?

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You’ve assembled everything you need for the perfect sandwich: turkey pastrami, Swiss cheese, some tomatoes, some drained sauerkraut and a crusty baguette. To top it all off, you reach into the fridge for your favorite spicy mustard.

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And then you notice it. The “Best before” date on the mustard bottle was 6 months ago!

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You might think you’ve got to ditch the mustard and settle for a plain sandwich. But that’s not the case. Here’s what you need to know about food expiration dates:

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“Best before”: This date gives you an idea of how long the food will last before it loses quality. It refers to quality rather than food safety. Food with a ‘best before’ date should be safe to eat after the ‘best before’ date, but it may no longer be at its best.

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“Use-by”: This date, on the other hand, refers to food safety (so you must pay attention to it). Food can be eaten up to the end of this date but not after, even if it looks and smells fine. Always follow the storage instructions on packs.

Foods need proper storage

Whether or not a product keeps fresh and edible right up to the use-by or best-before date depends on how it is stored. Many foods need to be kept at certain temperatures, either in the fridge or freezer. For instance, fresh milk needs to be refrigerated. If a carton of milk is left out on the kitchen bench, it will quickly sour, regardless of its best-before date.

For more information, check this website out!

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