Best Before and Use by?

supercook, Oct 11, 7:41am
What the difference I always eat yoghurt if it is a couple of days past the date. Are you anal about best before or use by dates or pretty go with the flow?

lynja, Oct 11, 7:44am
i am happy to use best before date foods, but cautious with use by dates. best before just covers the manufacturer re quality, whereas use by is the date usually seen on more perishable goods.

omaria, Oct 11, 7:47am
best before dates are ok for a long time after but as Lynja said with persihables its different

kuaka, Oct 11, 7:54am
It depends on what the food item is as far as I'm concerned, and also whether it has reached the specified date after I've purchased it, or as I see sometimes, whilst it is still for sale.Recently I saw at my local four square shop, a vacuum packed joint of meat which was a week beyond it's use by date when the price was reduced.It was still there two weeks after that (ie. 3 weeks after the use by date).

nfh1, Oct 11, 7:58am
I stick completely to the dates as I have no intention of going with the flow!

cookessentials, Oct 11, 8:51am
There’s a big difference between a ‘use by’ date and a ‘best before’ date on perishable goods.

Think of a ‘use by’ date as an instruction. It’s not to be ignored. For food safety reasons you should eat this food by the date shown or throw it away. And it’s illegal for retailers to sell foods that are past their ‘use by’ date for the same reason.

On the other hand, you can think of a ‘best before’ date as more of a polite suggestion to get the best out of the product. If you eat or drink this product by the date shown it should be in good quality – assuming you’ve followed the storage instructions. After that date there could be some deterioration, but it won’t become unsafe to eat straight away. Some foods deteriorate quite quickly, so you won’t want to eat them if they’re a week past the date, whereas others, especially canned foods, can last for several years.

cookessentials, May 22, 7:16pm
From Consumer Affairs

Date marks come under different headings and there is a difference between a ‘Use By’ date and a ‘Best Before’ date.

A ‘Use By’ date shows how long your food should keep for safely if the storage instructions are followed. You shouldn’t buy or eat food if the ‘Use By’ date has passed. It’s illegal to sell food with an expired ‘Use By’ date and if a shop is found to be selling unfit food, they can be fined.

A ‘Best Before’ date is different in that it refers to the quality of the food. This date gives you an idea of when the food should be eaten if you want to eat it at its best quality. After the ‘Best Before’ date it is likely that the quality of the product may begin to change. It isn’t a safety issue and food can still be sold by shops beyond its ‘Best Before’ date as long as it’s still fit to eat.

Often, shops may have goods where the ‘Best Before’ date has expired and sell them for a reduced price.

Keep in mind that it’s not legally required to date label all food. For example, unpackaged foods such as loose fruit, or food with a shelf life of longer than two years are not required to have a date label.