MSE News: Food shake-up could see 'best before' labels changed



  • Smidster
    Smidster Forumite Posts: 519
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    This is an absolute disaster for me.

    I can only afford to eat because of reduced food which this will pretty much kill off (esp for fruit and veg)
  • frugal_shopper_2
    frugal_shopper_2 Forumite Posts: 513 Forumite
    It's all very well Martin saying "For everything else we should use our eyes and nose" But how do you use your eyes and nose when buying a tin of beans?

    Much of the "everything else" is packaged, so we can't see or smell it until we open the package. So how do we know it is "worth" buying?

    Do we go round the supermarket, opening stuff to see if it's still OK?

    Products will still have USE BY dates if a food product you buy goes off before the use by date you can return it for a replacement or refund.

    As this change in labelling was announced in June 2009 is it really news?
  • Derivative
    Derivative Forumite Posts: 1,698 Forumite
    Tins of beans are a little bit daft, most tinned stuff lasts years - the chances something will still be on the shelf after that length of time is minuscule.

    Best before dates generally mean things taste a little less appetizing. Nothing to do with 'going off' usually. It's stuff like sweets being a bit tasteless, crisps being a bit soggy and so on.

    Use by dates are the "smelly, don't eat this off cheese" sort of stuff.

    I would much rather see more items have use by dates, and best before scrapped completely. I believe best before dates confuse more than they do well.
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  • johnnyblount
    johnnyblount Forumite Posts: 43 Forumite
    This would surely mean the end of much of the reduced sections if this becomes a new guideline which pretty much means I would no longer buy local as without the deals a complete shop would be far too expensive Id then change to value brands from the larger supermarkets.

    I know there is too much waste at supermarkets with trashed food but there ae other ways of dealing with that problem surely Its a shame because I have virtually lived on fresh reduced items topped up with value food cupboard stuff .
  • liam8282
    liam8282 Forumite Posts: 2,864 Forumite
    If people truly don't like supermarkets and the food waste they create, why don't they instead of buying fruit & veg from supermarkets etc buy from local greengrocers?

    I find you can get much better quality fruit & veg from local greengrocers at a much lower price.

    Buying what you need instead of buying what is on offer at the supermarket also helps.
  • culpepper
    culpepper Forumite Posts: 4,076 Forumite
    I think they need to have a compromise. They could have when it was packaged and how long it should last if kept cold or dry or whatever.

    When my mother used to shop at the grocers and butchers, if something was bruised or 'a bit funny',even a carrot or a tomato , it went straight back and was replaced promptly but I wonder how many of them would do that these days.
    Certainly if I took the damaged fruit and veg(from pre packed potatoes , carrots etc) back to my supermarket for replacement, I would most likely be met with derision or told in the case of fish or meat that I had not stored it correctly.

    Tinned food should last for years because it is heated inside the sealed tins killing any bacteria or that is my understanding.
    The tins which are bent or damaged still need using up first in case the seal has been compromised and if they have any kind of a visible leak ,they should be thrown away.

    Reduced sections would still have meat and fish products etc because people will be more discerning about the ultimate use date and the older products will sit on the shelves in favour of the new.It would be in shops best interests to reduce the price of them and sell them before they reach the 'throw away only' date.
  • grahamwalker
    grahamwalker Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    There is so much rubbish quoted about food and use by dates.
    Eggs put them in cold water, if they sink they are ok,if they float throw away.
    Hard cheese should be kept cool, not in the fridge just cut the mould off.
    Potatoes this one make me mad,store in cool/dark place,will last for months (remember thhere are two main harvests a year) that how long they will keep.The same goes for all root veg try storing carrots and the like in sand.
    jams and Perserves a good 12 months once open keep in fridge & use with in 4 weeks.
    Fish best eaten when you buy it,if you dont eat with in two days try freezing it defrost and use right away.
    Meat if stored right about 2 weeks.
    Fruit eg apples and pears store it right agood 6 months.
    Young people ask your grandparents how to store food, they will know, we I was young we did not have a fridge we used a metalbox with very small holes init for air the circle on a north facing wall also had a marble slab in the pantry.
    The food to be careful with are soft cheeses, pate, shellfish.
    I cannot coment on prepaired foods /meals as I will not enterain them.
  • charlie792
    charlie792 Forumite Posts: 1,744
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    To be honest this wouldn't change much in my house, pretty much most of my stuff stays in the fridge/cupboards etc until eaten or visibly gone off. Whats the point throwing out something just because the package says its not 'in date'?

    Milk stays until its gone off - the same with fresh salad items. The only thing I am wary of is fresh meats but I purchase the one with the longest date on it, and if I know it wont be eaten by then Ill freeze it. I dont personally see the need for such waste.

    Actually my great granddad many many years ago used to work shovelling out curry powder from the back of a lorry - he had jars and jars of the stuff at his house and gave it to family members, up until about 5 years ago (when it got used up) my dad still had a jar of the stuff... Im sure in this day and age it would have been decades past its expiry date - never did us any harm.
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  • mustrum_ridcully
    mustrum_ridcully Forumite Posts: 1,453 Forumite
    Bazzygirl wrote: »
    I usually love Martin but found this so dissapointing. Why are they quoting from the NHS????!!!! They have no authority or expertise in food safety, in fact my dealings with them have been so poor, they give the public poor advice on food poisoning and rarely report to environmental health which they are legally obliged to do. If this site is going to give advice to the public on these matters then they need to be getting accurate and technical info, otherwise this just creates more problems. I have worked in food warty as an enforcement officer for many years visiting businesses and advising and educating the public. I see both sides of the coin from a consumer point of view and from that of the business. I do not think bb dates should be scrapped at all. I would hope that display until dates are though, the biggest thing is to educate people so they understand, I am shocked on a day to daily basis how poor peoples knowledge is on food safety. I think it would be great for this site to do it but to do it in the correct way!!

    Please Martin nsure that info you are giving comes from the people who know what they are talking about!!

    What's food warty?

    I've seen what some companies do with Best Before dates. Products manufactured on say 19th April will have BB end Nov 2011, whilst those made on the 20th could be stamped with BB end Dec 2011.

    If you can read German go into lidl/aldi have a look at some of their products that are labelled in English and German. The English bit says "once opened eat within 3 days" yet the German part doesn't...
    "One thing that is different, and has changed here, is the self-absorption, not just greed. Everybody is in a hurry now and there is a 'the rules don't apply to me' sort of thing." - Bill Bryson
  • mcjordi
    mcjordi Forumite Posts: 4,238
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    ive always said this.. best before dates mean exactly that.. ive just ate a packet of crisps about 6 months past the BBD and they were still crunchy and tasted like prawn cocktail crisps.. use before now i stick to that

    Just look at the booming business at Approved Foods..
    please dont regulate the date lables as i wont get my bargains anymore Booooo...!!!!
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