Food Labelling

'Best before'

These dates appear on a wide range of frozen, dried, tinned and other foods.

The 'best before' dates are more about quality than safety, so when the date runs out it doesn't mean that the food will be harmful, but it might begin to lose its flavour and texture.

However, you shouldn't eat eggs after the 'best before' date. This is because eggs can contain salmonella bacteria, which could start to multiply after this date.

And remember, the 'best before' date will only be accurate if the food is stored according to the instructions on the label, such as 'store in a cool dry place' or 'keep in the fridge once opened'.

'Use by'

This does not always mean 'eat by'. If a food can be frozen its life can be extended beyond the 'use by' date.

But make sure you follow any instructions on the pack - such as 'freeze on day of purchase', 'cook from frozen' or 'defrost thoroughly before use and use within 24 hours'.

It's also important you follow any instructions for cooking and preparation shown on the label.

Once a food with a 'use by' date on it has been opened, you also need to follow any instructions such as 'eat within a week of opening'.

But if the 'use by' date is tomorrow, then you must use the food by the end of tomorrow, even if you only opened it today.

Contact Details
Tel: 01773 841335 Environmental Health Helpline
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