What is the difference between a Use-by date and a Best Before date?
In simple terms, a use by date tells you whether a food should be safe to eat, while a best before date tells you about a food’s quality.
Use by dates appear on foods that are most likely to perish quickly, and cause a threat to health after a relatively short period. This includes meat, fish, dairy products and prepared salads and meals. Harmful bacteria can exist on these foods and multiply over time, so it is vital to follow food safety rules when using these foods.
Waste prevention tip – foods can be frozen up to and on their use by dates, as long as they’ve been stored safely up to that point. You’ll need to cook and eat it within 24 hours when you defrost it.
Best before dates tell you about the quality of a food – after this date, the food may not be harmful to eat, but the flavour or texture might be affected. Best before dates are often used on frozen, tinned and packet foods.
Waste prevention tip – Have a regular check of your food cupboard and make sure you keep foods with shortest best before dates at the front so you don’t forget about them.
To review this and other important food safety important, visit The Safer Food Group and check out our Level 2 Food Hygiene course – vital for all food handlers