– Published on
March 9, 2022

Scrapping use by dates in favour for best before dates to save milk from becoming waste

Expiration dates, best before dates, use by, last sellable days, last sell date... There are A LOT of different types of date labels on our food. For different reasons. Some are important to not mess too much with, like on fresh meat, so you don't get those bad germs. But some kinds of food are not that delicate when it comes to expiration dates. Milk for example.

Use your senses

Morrisons, the UK food retailer, announced in January 2022 that they were to scrap the use by dates on their milk in favour of best before dates. They urge their customers to use the sniff-test instead of just looking at the date. Does it look and smell ok, then it is ok. They estimate that this move will save millions of pints of milk.

According to the WRAP charity, milk is the third most wasted food and drink product in the UK, after potatoes and bread. Around 490 million pints is wasted each year. This means that around 7% of the total UK production of milk is wasted. Millions of these pints are wasted because of the use by date labels, despite research showing it can be used several days after the date. In many other countries the best before dates has been common practice for a long time, so we were glad to see that more follows suit.

Food that has been stored properly is still safe to eat after the best before date. One simple way of minimising waste is to look, smell and taste food. Trust your senses, if they tell you that the food is still good, feel free to eat it. The best before date system is designed to point out when the product is peaking. After the set date it’s fine for a while longer.

Old milk perfume

Coop, a big Swedish food chain once did a fun campaign worth mentioning on this subject. They created Old Milk perfume, a cologne that reeks of dairy that has lingered way past its freshness date. The perfume was made as part of a campaign to reduce food waste. The message to customers was to trust their senses before they throw it away, and if it doesn’t smell like this perfume it’s fine.

Fia Sjöström
Content Creator & Marketing specialist

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