MoneySaving Poll:When do you chuck away best-before foods?

edited 13 October 2014 at 2:48PM in MoneySaving polls
13 replies 3K views
Former_MSE_Sam_MFormer_MSE_Sam_M Former MSE
346 Posts
MSE Staff
edited 13 October 2014 at 2:48PM in MoneySaving polls
Poll started 13 October 2014

When do you chuck away best-before foods?

Each year the average household wastes £470 by throwing away food. Are you a chucker or a keeper when it comes to food that’s past its ‘best-before’ date?

Please choose the option CLOSEST to your USUAL stance (be honest!).

Did you vote? Are you surprised at the results so far? Have your say below. To see the results from last time, click here.

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  • patannepatanne Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    I voted the second option but if I was really honest I would have to say it depends on the product. Fish I don't use after the use by date & am cautious even then, meat I'd use a couple of days over if it looked/smelt alright and be cautious also re the source. Fruit & veg I would use until it was obviously not a good idea. I think a lot of these choices are down to what has ever made you ill. I have been ill several times from fish WELL within its use by date, so I am very cautious about fish.
  • StumpyStumpy Forumite
    1.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    Ah yes, true .. I completely forgot about fresh veg and fruit. Apples, potatoes, carrots, etc, I regularly keep well past their best before date ... they can often last a month past with no problems. But meat, packaged food, dairy .. they're one or two max generally ... and sometimes meat doesn't last that long :-(
  • I usually buy BBE foods after their date and eat them whenever.

    No need to waste food when many are starving elsewhere :)
  • robin58robin58 Forumite
    2.8K Posts
    When do you chuck away best-before foods?

    When it's Mean and Green! :D:D:D
    The more I live, the more I learn.
    The more I learn, the more I grow.
    The more I grow, the more I see.
    The more I see, the more I know.
    The more I know, the more I see,
    How little I know.!! ;)
  • What the hell has happened to common sense... ?
    oh yeah, it's became UN-common

    *USE BY means exactly that

    *DISPLAY UNTIL is purely there for the retailer[to aid stock rotation]

    *BEST BEFORE ~ did you know that stores can legally sell products for up to 1 MONTH AFTER this date? due to the fact that this date is purely an advisor date (YES REALLY! )
  • patannepatanne Forumite
    1.3K Posts
    No USE BY means if you do eat it after this date then we accept even less responsibility for anything bad that happens. That is why you use your eyes and your nose before using. But you need to do that anyway as it is possible to buy food that is off well before that date, cheese seems to be a prime example.
  • meg72meg72 Forumite
    5.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts I've been Money Tipped!
    I am a big fan of using common sense, we managed fine before we had these dates, no freezers or even fridges, look,smell, taste.

    I buy a lot of my food reduced on the best before date as you can get some mega bargains this way.
    Slimming World at target
  • I tend not to use fresh food such as dairy, meat, fish after a use by date and would see how it looked if it was past a best before date.

    When fruit and veg look past their best, they get thrown into a soup/stew/crumble.

    I don't even look at the date on cupboard items such as tins, packets etc.
  • pete_vpete_v Forumite
    56 Posts
    Like others, I found this a bit hard to answer because it varies so much between types of food.

    Dairy stuff (except for cheese) I tend to stick to the date - and in fact milk occasionally smells off before the date in which case I chuck it. Can't stand off milk.

    Mincing meat (including making sausages, burgers, etc) mixes bacteria right into the middle of it, so I tend to ditch these a day or two after use by. Solid cuts of meat I will keep a bit longer, going by smell and appearance rather than date.

    For some reason I'm not worried about cheese going off - I'll keep that till it's visibly growing hair, and sometimes cut off the bad bits and eat the rest. Fancy French cheese does sometimes start tasting funny before growing (extra) mould on the surface; if so I give up on it at that point.

    Fruit and veg I go entirely on looks - and because the dates on it from the supermarket are quite short and I don't shop that often, I'm probably eating it "out of date" more often than in-date! It's always fine.

    Dry packet stuff I'll happily use months out of date as long as it looks ok.

    Cooking something restarts the clock - I'll give leftovers a few days even if the ingredients would have been chucked if not cooked. The exception is rice and couscous - these start growing nasty stuff very quickly and they're cheap anyway, so I don't keep leftovers of them.

    Don't remember ever getting ill from bad food at home.

  • I used to work for a company that sold veg to supermarkets.

    The best before for most supermarket veggies is based on 'How long will it look perfect for' i.e. if it's garlic with a 20 day shelf-life, you won't be able to tell the difference between a bulb of garlic that's been on the shelf for 1 day, and one that's been there for 20. NOT how long it will be 'good' for.

    Also interesting to not that the best before dates were based on when the veg was put into the packaging (or the trays in some cases)

    So, you'd get things that were pulled out of the same field on the same day, but because they were packed over the course of a week they'd have 7 days different 'shelf life.'
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