Difference between best before and use by Dates

For many consumers, the confusion about the difference between the “use-by” and “best before” dates on our food products causes many of our perfectly edible food to end up in the bin. Working out the distinction between the two is one of the simplest ways we can work to reduce the amount of food which gets wasted in our own homes. It’s not rocket science, read on to find out how…..

Best Before

The best before date simply guarantees that the product, up until this date, will be at its finest, primo, tip-top condition. After this date has passed, it is possible that the freshness, flavour or fragrance might be reduced. But never fear!! This number has a fair amount of leeway, and the food in most instances is perfectly fine to consume past this date. The best way to know if it’s still good to go is to simply rely on your senses. Give it a sniff, have a look for any bad bits and even have a little taste.


The use-by date is a little more important to look out for when considering food safety and health. This date is more commonly seen on perishable foods such as meats, fish, milk and other dairy items. You can usually tell when these have passed their use-by date, and are generally not safe to eat if this has occurred. There are a few ways to avoid letting your food get to this point, however. First of all, make sure to store food correctly according to the packaging, which usually means keeping in either the fridge or freezer. Another trick we use at Hidden Harvest is having an “Eat Me First” container in the fridge, which older stock can be put into in clear view to be used first when cooking. You can also try your hand at pickling veggies to preserve them for much longer!

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