Confusion over food packaging dates
Nearly one in three people believe that ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates on food mean the same thing, according to the findings of a new study.
The research, conducted for Safefood, a north-south body responsible for the promotion of food safety and healthy eating on the island of Ireland, also shows that 44 per cent of people know there is a difference between the two, but are unsure which is which.
The aim of Safefood's 'Cut Food Waste' campaign is to help consumers become more aware of use by and best before dates on foods and the difference between them said director of food science at Safefood Dr Gary Kearney.
“With most people underestimating just how much of their weekly grocery bill is wasted on food that is in the end, thrown out, consumers can save money by focusing on these dates."
The agency advises people to treat 'best before' dates as a guideline and 'use by' dates as a deadline.
Safefood advised people that ‘use by’ dates on foods that are very perishable, such as cooked meat products, prepared foods and salads means that foods should not be eaten after that date as this could be a health risk.
Spokesman for Stop Food Waste at the Environmental Protection Agency Odile Le Bolloch said the campaign was designed to discourage people from wasting food.
“Understanding the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates will empower consumers to stop wasting food and save them money. European Week for Waste Reduction gives us a chance to highlight to everyone that the way we consume and waste food has a key role in building a sustainable society that is resource efficient.”