Many confused by 'use by' and 'best before' labels, study shows


Almost one in three people believe that “best before” and “use by” dates on food mean the same thing, a new study shows.

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.

The agency advises people to treat “best before” dates as a guideline and “use by” dates as a deadline. “Consumers can save money by focusing on these dates.”